Now could be the perfect time for Londoners to sell up

If you fancy trading your poky terrace for a country manor, do it now before the property price-gap narrows.

Quit while you're ahead'. That was the headline on an article about London house prices in the Sunday Times last month. It suggested as we often have here that those who have made vast gains in the London market take advantage by selling up and moving out.

Why now? Because the gap between London property and non-London property is the widest it has ever been. It makes sense to think it will start to close again. Perhaps London prices will fall (however unlikely that might look today) or perhaps the gap will simply narrow back to historical norms as house prices elsewhere rise.

It isn't happening yet. ONS numbers show that while average house prices are rising at 6.8% in the UK as a whole, and 7.1% in the southeast, London prices are rising even more 13.2%.

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But before you dismiss the idea that the gap might start to narrow, you might readmy colleague Matthew's piece on the subject.

Then note that not all of London is in the eye of the boom break it down by area and you will see that some parts of the city are seeing prices barely budging (prices in NW1 only rose 3% last year).

Finally, note that as we have suggested many times in the past demand creates its own supply. More than 150 new residential towers are planned for central London at the moment,says the FT,involving thousands of new homes. So many that even Savills "concedes that there are already enough homes planned in the coming years to satisfy demand" at the top end of London's housing market."

The result is that "we do have concerns that some of these schemes aren't sustainable", says Chris Taylor, chief executive of Hermes Real Estate.

We still think it's a good time to make the trade (assuming you want to live in a Wiltshire manor house rather than a three-bedroom terraced mini-home in Balham).

So what can you swap a house in Fulham for?

Sellthis four-bed terracefor £1.65m, and buythis six-bed detached house with ten acres of land in Wiltshire

Orthis seven-bed thatched former Rectory

This eight-bedroom house with swimming pool and gym, two cottages, and 21 acres of land in West Lothian

Aneight bed house in Hampshire with ponds, meadows and outbuildings

A five-bed house in Cornwall with swimming pool, outbuildings, and fantastic views

AQueen Anne style country house in Herefordshire

Perhaps set up a hotel inthis 'former Gentleman's residence'with 14 en-suite bedrooms, 3-bed penthouse flat, bar, and 'distant' sea views

Or sell in Fulham andstay in Fulham too(just witha nice country house on the side).

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.