Nearly six in ten homes listed for sale in the capital this year that were withdrawn from the market went unsold, according to new data.
Property research firm LonRes analysed trends for This is Money and found that between January and June 2017, of all properties removed from the market, 43 per cent were withdrawn thanks to a sale – while 57 per cent were simply removed rather than sold.
In fact, properties pulled from the market have exceeded sales since last summer according to the firm, the first time this has happened since 2010.
Hard sell: Data for This is Money shows that nearly six in 10 London homes have been withdrawn for sale so far in 2017
The LonRes data is not just based on prime central London – it also includes the fringes of the capital, suggesting it is a problem across an area which has seen rapid value growth in recent years.
Marcus Dixon, head of research at LonRes, said: ‘With holding costs and mortgage rates at historic lows, rather than reducing their properties to find a buyer many vendors are withdrawing their properties.
‘This suggests there are currently few forced sellers in central London. This has meant prices have remained relatively stable (albeit still down on peak levels) but transactions have fallen.
‘Buyers are also complaining to agents about the lack of stock on the market. This means that the higher withdrawal rates may also be a result of frustrated movers not being able to secure the right property to move to.’
The trend means there are large numbers of people in properties which they would have, in an ideal world, sold. Mr Dixon says withdrawals are an ‘important barometer of the market.’
Trend data shows that sellers are waiting an average of five months to sell their home in the capital, a figure that has nudged up slightly on last year.
London falling: Nationwide data last week showed that the capital has fallen down the league table for house price growth
Recent data from Nationwide Building Society showed that prices in London were up 1.2 per cent annually in June, behind every other region of Britain other than the North.
The same index shows the average price tag in the capital is £478,142, far higher than any other area.
Another index last month from Hometrack, indicated that the rapid slowdown in London house price growth seen over the last 12 months had plateaued.
House price inflation in the capital is running at 3.3 per cent, which is the lowest level for five years, and down from 14 per cent a year ago.
The same data found that other cities were starting to see far larger price growth than London.
In Birmingham, for example, prices were up 7.7 per cent in the same period, meanwhile Leicester, Manchester and Nottingham all saw growth of 6.8 per cent.
LonRes says that the number of withdrawals has been down to lower offers for property, but also increased stamp duty costs on properties worth more than £937,000 and a surcharge for second and additional properties.
One owner of a Knightsbridge property is raffling it off with tickets costing £5 and proceeds heading to charity.