UK house prices fell 0.1% in February
Annual house price growth was sluggish in February, said Nationwide, with prices up just 0.4% over the year.
However, compared to January, UK house prices fell slightly (0.1%) taking the average price of a property to £211,304.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “After almost grinding to a complete halt in January, annual house price growth remained subdued in February, with prices just 0.4% higher than the same time last year.
“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 survey data suggests that sentiment has softened.
“Measures of consumer confidence weakened around the turn of the year and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries over the same period.
“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.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder director of estate agents James Pendleton, added: “It’s a pretty unremarkable start to the year but, assuming there’s no delay to Article 50, this is going to be the mood music until we get through to April.
“February can be a mixed bag but it’s generally a time of year when the market starts to really pick up in terms of post-Christmas activity. There are extenuating circumstances now of course that are affecting that typical pattern, and delivering us the first quarterly fall since the middle of 2018.
“The market is falling in real terms but in the more expensive parts of the country, particularly London, it’s going to take a more significant retreat in prices to pull first-time buyers to the table in significantly greater numbers.”
The latest English Housing Survey from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) showed a slight rise in the home ownership rate in 2018 to 63.5% (from 62.6% in 2017).