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Crest Nicholson flags London weakness as average house price growth sinks

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Crest Nicholson flags London weakness as average house price growth sinks

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By Radhika Rukmangadhan (Reuters) – Crest Nicholson Holdings Plc <CRST.L> was the latest property firm to flag weakness in central London property prices on Wednesday while reporting average house price growth across its UK business fell to a quarter of that in 2016. “The housing market is generally robust across the Group’s principal operating areas and sales prices continue to show moderate growth although Central London transactions are suffering from some volume and price weakness,” the company said in a statement. Average selling prices for the builder’s homes increased 5.4 percent to 391,000 pounds compared to growth of 18 percent in 2016. With concerns over Brexit weighing and the Bank of England this month raising interest rates for the first time in a decade, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said last week that house prices in Britain were no longer rising. In London they are falling at the fastest pace since 2009, it added, knocking shares of house builders including Crest Nicholson lower. In its annual trading update, Crest Nicholson said it built 2.3 percent more homes in the 12 months to the end of October but that its underlying sales rate per outlet per week fell to an average of 0.77 from 0.81 last year. The company, which builds homes in south Wales, London and southern and eastern England, however stuck to its sales target of 1.4 billion pounds in 2019.

(Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)
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