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House price growth stalled in January

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Brexit uncertainty is impacting buyer confidence and transactions are down
House price growth stalled in January

Annual house price growth stagnated in January, slowing to just 0.1%, according to Nationwide.

It recorded a small rise in prices between December 2018 and January 2018 of 0.3%, taking the average UK property price to £211,966.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Annual house price growth almost ground to a complete halt in January, with prices just 0.1% higher than the same time last year. This follows a subdued December when price growth slowed to 0.5%.

“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, but forward-looking indicators had suggested some softening was likely.

“In particular, measures of consumer confidence weakened in December and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries towards the end of 2018. While the number of properties coming onto the market also slowed, this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers in recent months.”

Brexit jitters

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of property lender, Octane Capital, added: “Faced with unprecedented political and economic uncertainty, the property market is in a state of near paralysis.

“A robust jobs market, better wage growth and low borrowing rates are providing a degree of support but are ultimately being overshadowed by the countdown to Brexit. Against such an ominous political backdrop, it’s no surprise new buyer enquiries are in free fall and that sellers are also pulling down the shutters.

“Low single digit price growth in 2019 would be a victory of sorts, especially in the capital which is paying for its over-exuberant growth several years ago.

“In Brexit, the UK property market is entering genuinely uncharted waters.”

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