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UK house prices remain flat in November

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UK house prices remained flat on the month in November (-1.2 per cent year-on-year), at 163,853 pounds, according to mortgage lender Nationwide.

The consensus estimate had been for a rise of 0.1% month-on-month (-1% year-on-year).

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The annual rate of house price inflation remained in negative territory for the ninth month in a row in November.

“However, the pace of decline remained extremely slow (…) the predominant theme remains one of stability. Indeed, UK house prices were unchanged over the month in November, after taking account of normal seasonal factors.

“Moreover, annual price growth has remained in a narrow band between +1.5% and -1.5% on all but two occasions over the past two years.”

Gardner highlights the stronger than expected employment conditions during the financial crisis as an important factor behind the resilience shown by the housing market.

Nevertheless, in his opinion the fact that employment is above pre-crisis levels while economic output is still around three percentage points below its 2008 level, suggests that the pace of job creation may not be maintained at its recent rapid pace.

In the three months to September the annual pace of employment growth reached 1.8% – the strongest outturn since 1997.

He added: “Similarly, the fact that the unemployment rate remains elevated suggests that competition for jobs will remain intense, maintaining downward pressure on wage growth.

“This supports our view that house prices are likely to remain broadly flat or decline modestly over the next twelve months.”

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