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Financial News: UK House Price Inflation At 5-month High, But

UK House Price Inflation At 5-month High, But Remains Subdued - Nationwide

05/01/2019 - 04:28:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK house prices rose at the fastest annual pace in five months in April, but inflation remained subdued, survey data from the Nationwide housing society showed on Wednesday.

The house price index rose 0.9 percent year-on-year following a 0.7 percent increase in March. Economists had expected the inflation rate to remain unchanged.

"Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, even though survey data suggests that sentiment has softened," Nationwide's Chief Economist Robert Gardner said.

"Measures of consumer confidence weakened around the turn of the year and surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have remained subdued.

House prices rose 0.4 percent month-on-month after a 0.2 percent increase in March. The pace of growth was the fastest since November, when prices rose at the same rate.

In contrast, economists had expected the monthly growth in house prices to slow to 0.1 percent.

"While the number of properties coming onto the market has also slowed, this doesn't appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of supply and demand in favor of buyers in recent months," Gardner said.

"April marks the fifth month in a row in which annual house price growth has been below 1 percent."

The average price of a UK house rose to GBP 214,920 in April from GBP 213,102 in March.

Capital Economics said the sluggish house price inflation reflects the already high level of prices relative to incomes, as well as the effects of Brexit uncertainty.

"Looking ahead, with Brexit having been delayed until the start of Q4, housing market conditions are set to stay weak - making a recovery in housing demand unlikely," Capital Economics Property Economist Hansen Lu said.

The research firm expects house price inflation to end the year at around 1 percent and to remain contained at 1.5 percent in 2020 even as the economy and confidence recover.

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