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UK house price growth weakest since November 2015 - Nationwide

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices rose at their slowest annual rate in more than a year last month, and the prospect of weaker jobs growth and higher inflation is likely to weigh further on their prospects in 2017, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday.

Nationwide said house prices were up 4.3 percent year-on-year in January, their smallest increase since November 2015 and slowing from 4.5 percent in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a marginally smaller slowdown to 4.4 percent.

On the month, prices edged up 0.2 percent after a 0.8 percent jump in December.

"The outlook for the housing market remains clouded, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding economic prospects more broadly," Nationwide economist Robert Gardner said.

Britain's economy was creating fewer jobs than earlier in 2017, and rising consumer price inflation was eating into households' disposable income, he added.

Nationwide expects the year-on-year rise in house prices to slow to around 2 percent in 2017 - though this still contrasts with widespread predictions of an outright fall after June's vote to leave the European Union.

Bank of England data on Tuesday showed lenders approved the most mortgages since March in December, but the increase was less than economists had forecast.

Samuel Tombs, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said a fall in mortgage rates in late 2016 had not boosted activity as much as expected, and saw further headwinds for home-buyers now lenders' funding costs were starting to rise again.

"The decline in consumer confidence and slowdown in income growth towards the end of last year is weighing on price momentum," he added.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

 

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