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Financial News: UK House Prices Inflation Tumbles To Near 4-year

UK House Prices Inflation Tumbles To Near 4-year Low - Nationwide

04/28/2017 - 02:17:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK house prices unexpectedly fell for a second straight month in April, driving the annual pace of growth to its lowest level in nearly four years, signaling that Britons may be tightening the purse strings due to a squeeze on real incomes.

The house price index fell 0.4 percent month-on-month after a 0.3 percent slump in March, results of the monthly survey by the Nationwide Building Society showed Friday. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent gain.

House prices rose 2.6 percent year-on-year following 3.5 percent rise in March. Economists had forecast a modest easing to 3.3 percent. The latest increase was the weakest since June 2013.

"In some respects, the softening in house price growth is surprising because the unemployment rate is near to a 40-year low, confidence is still relatively high and mortgage rates have fallen to new all-time lows in recent months," Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner said.

"While monthly figures can be volatile, the recent softening in price growth may be a further indication that households are starting to react to the emerging squeeze on real incomes or to affordability pressures in key parts of the country."

The economist noted that it was too early to conclude if the house price slowdown is merely a blip and it is likely that house prices could rise around 2 percent over the course of the year as a whole.

"Given the ongoing uncertainties around the UK's future trading arrangements and the upcoming election, the economic outlook is unusually uncertain, and housing market trends will depend crucially on developments in the wider economy," Gardner said.

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