Average house prices fell in February
Average UK house prices fell by 0.3% in Febraury, according to Nationwide, taking the price of a typical property to £210,402.
The price fall dragged back the level of annual house price inflation to just 2.2%, down from 3.2% in January, when prices picked up unexpectedly.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Month-to-month changes can be volatile, but the slowdown is consistent with signs of softening in the household sector in recent months. Retail sales were relatively soft over the Christmas period and at the start of the new year, as were key measures of consumer confidence, as the squeeze on household incomes continued to take its toll.
“Similarly, mortgage approvals declined to their weakest level for three years in December, at just 61,000. Activity around the year end can often be volatile, but the weak reading comes off the back of subdued activity in October and November. Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have remained soft in recent months.”
Tough months ahead
Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple.com, added: “While the country shivers from the full force of the Beast from the East, the housing market is suffering from its own chilly period.
“The housing market isn’t about to suffer a full blown crash, but we have some tough months ahead and a lot of hard negotiating between buyers and sellers if the market is to get back on track.
“Buyers definitely hold all the cards at the moment, and the last thing the market needed right now was a blanket of snow covering the country. This is likely to stall activity as buyers will be put off viewing, or may not be able to travel to viewings, until the weather improves.”