United Kingdom house prices rise at slowest pace in almost 6 years

A worker uses a stair at a construction site in central London

A worker uses a stair at a construction site in central London Britain

British house prices took a pre-Brexit hit in December, falling by the most in monthly terms since mid-2012 and rising by their slowest pace in almost six years in annual terms, according to data from mortgage lender Nationwide.

Annual house price growth slowed from 1.9% in November to 0.5% in December, Nationwide Building Society said. Prices in Wales climbed 4%, in Scotland they were up 0.9% and in England they rose 0.7%.

The 0.5 per cent increase in December was the weakest since February 2013.

House prices were down by 0.7% month-on-month in December. The average price of a home in the Uk now stands at £212,281. London prices fell for the sixth consecutive quarter to 0.8 percent a year ago.

Northern Ireland recorded the strongest growth in 2018, with prices up 5.8%.

According to the Nationwide survey, annual house price growth UK-wide slowed from 1.9% in November to 0.5% in December.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said last month that in the event of a "disorderly" departure from the European Union - not the central bank's base-case scenario - house prices could slump by 30 percent as part of a broader economic shock.

As Brexit turmoil is set to continue as parliament returns to work, some economists foresee an improvement in house prices in 2019, stating that while supplies of homes for sale have decreased, "the balance of demand and supply has shifted in buyers' favour".

- Outer Metropolitan, £356,531, minus 1.4%.

'It is likely that the recent slowdown is attributable to the impact of the uncertain economic outlook on buyer sentiment, given that it has occurred against a backdrop of solid employment growth, stronger wage growth and continued low borrowing costs, ' he said.

Near term prospects will be heavily dependent on how quickly this uncertainty lifts.

"The economic outlook is unusually uncertain".

The North South house price gap continues to narrow with northern regions growing between 3% and 4%, whilst prices in the south have moderated throughout the year.

But he added: "This trend was not entirely unexpected as it followed several years of sustained outperformance by the South, which left affordability more stretched in these areas".

Since the vote, the housing market has weakened, led by price falls in London.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club believes the housing market ended 2018 "very much on the back foot". That figure was also down 0.7 per cent month-on-month.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: "Despite the political challenges in 2018, the housing market held up pretty well with low mortgage rates supporting activity".

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