Olympics and stamp duty break brings relief for Newham house buyers

A combination of the Olympics and a temporary tax break for first time buyers is providing a short-term boost to Newham’s housing market, estate agents say.

But the average asking price of a house in the borough does not measure up so well when compared to other parts of London.

Buyers can currently expect to pay �249,307, up 11 per cent compared to the same time last year, according to figures from Rightmove. This is also down on February’s �251,745.

A spokesman for Orange Square, the East Ham estate agency, said the market has picked up when compared to last year, but was still struggling to match pre-recession conditions.

He said: “Last year it was really bad because they haven’t been any properties available. The demand is there but there’s been no supply.

“I think the Olympic games could be helping in the short-term but I could see that being more a problem in the long run.

“The Olympics have pushed prices up but afterwards they could just go down and leave everyone in negative equity.”

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Kensington and Chelsea saw a 12 per cent yearly price rise in the average house price to slightly more than �2m.

The cheapest place to currently buy a house is in Bexley, with the average price calculated at �223,731. Sutton was the only London borough to record a drop in house prices when compared to last year.

Paul Higley, manager at Bryants Estate Agents in Beckton, said the stamp duty holiday, which ended on Friday, had more of an effect on the market.

He said: “I think if you go into a bank they will lend you four-and-half-times your income for a house regardless of the Olympics.

“It will be interesting to see what happens after the stamp duty holiday. So far this year there has been a lot more energy in the market.”

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, added: “The stamp duty holiday was designed to promote activity in the moribund housing market, helping first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder, and as a consequence releasing others to climb up the rungs too.”