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Is London opening the door for first-time buyers?

Is London opening the door for first-time buyers?
For those living outside of our nation's capital city, talk of London property prices is, more often than not, tiresome fare. There is a world outside of London, they bleat, and there is, of course.

However, there are signs of a slowdown in capital growth - potentially opening the door for first-time buyers and those with years of tenancy agreements behind them.

That said, the potential for London buying brings with it pleas for caution... read on.

A recent survey by Lloyds Bank outlining the UK cities boasting the highest price growth was pushed out promising a shock and it delivered.

Whether Cambridge topping the pile or London falling down the list was said shock is open to debate, but the capital's place among unachievable when it comes to places to live appears to be slipping.

Greater London also came in behind St Albans and Brighton & Hove in the Lloyds data, while Cardiff and Canterbury are galloping in close behind.

The least affordable city in the UK is Oxford, where average house prices come in at a whopping 11.5 times the average annual earnings. Greater London prices, meanwhile, creep in at a still lofty 10.2 times the average wage.

Rightmove figures for December 2017, meanwhile, show house prices in London fell by their biggest amount since the financial crash a decade ago - slumping by 3.5% compared with December 2016. In real terms, that means an average drop of £22,000 in a year, with homes in zones two and three tumbling by 6.4% and 7.7% respectively.

On paper at least, all this would appear to show the door ajar for buyers keen to set up a nest in the capital. But the warnings remain.

Despite the good news feel surrounding the government's stamp duty changes during the last Budget, the general feeling is Philip Hammond's gesture remains all but meaningless for first-time buyers in London.

With only a handful of properties in zones one and two on the market below the £300,000 stamp duty-exempt threshold, it's the proverbial needle in a haystack. Those with lofty ambitions to live in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea can count the number of stamp duty-exempt homes on one hand, meanwhile.

For most first-time buyers in the capital, the above notwithstanding, location is all.

Buying away from the central travel zones might be the best compromise in order to get on the ladder as a first-timer and using a London-centric agent like Ellis & Co could be the difference. Keep an eye on market trends over the next few months and, most importantly, don't go it alone.

If you want more information about buying or renting out a property in London, you can chat to your local Ellis & Co office.