• Asking prices for homes in London jump 1.6% in October
  • Dominant theme in the market remains shortage of supply

Asking prices for homes in London surged by 10,000 pounds ($15,500) this month as sellers took advantage of their market dominance to squeeze more from prospective buyers.

In its monthly report, Rightmove Plc said values increased 1.6 percent from September to 630,050 pounds. The number of properties coming to the market has fallen more than 16 percent in the past year, depriving buyers of negotiating power and limiting their choice. Prices have jumped 8.3 percent in the same period.

“With fewer properties coming to market, let alone the right ones at the right price, demand is still not being satisfied in many areas,” said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove. “Demand has been dented by stretched affordability and buyers’ sense of true values after years of big price jumps, but whilst it has taken a few knocks it still remains robust.”

A shortage of homes for sale has been a dominant theme in property reports this year. Of the 32 London districts covered by Rightmove, just three have recorded price declines over the past 12 months. The biggest annual increases have been in Newham and Tower Hamlets, up 18 percent, while the most-expensive borough of Kensington and Chelsea -- where the average price is over 2 million pounds -- has gained 4.5 percent.

Nationally, the picture is slightly different. While prices across the country also rose to a record last month -- 296,549 pounds -- the monthly advance of 0.6 percent was the smallest for an October in five years.

Shipside said while there are “signs of a slowing” in some sectors of the market, there’s still high demand for properties targeted at first-time buyers. Values in this category have increased almost 10 percent in the past year, reflecting a shortage of homes with no more than two bedrooms, coupled with interest from first-time buyers and investors.

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