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House price growth below one per cent for tenth consecutive month

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UK house price growth slowed to 0.2 per cent in September as the country’s political turmoil weighed on the property market.

Nationwide’s latest house price index painted a subdued picture of property price growth last month.

Annual growth fell from 0.6 per cent in August.

September marked the tenth consecutive month in which the average annual price increase has been below one per cent. Month-on-month, average house prices declined by 0.2 per cent from £216,096 to £215,352.

Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said: “Indicators of UK economic activity have been fairly volatile in recent quarters, but the underlying pace of growth appears to have slowed as a result of weaker global growth and an intensification of Brexit uncertainty.

The slowdown, said Gardner, was focused on business investment. Household spending has been more resilient, bolstered by a steady increase in the rate of employment and earnings.

He added: “The underlying pace of housing market activity has remained broadly stable, with the number of mortgages approved for house purchase continuing within the fairly narrow range prevailing over the past two years. Healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs appear to be offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook.”

London was the weakest performing region in quarter three followed by the “outlying” regions that make up London’s commuter belt with average price falls of 1.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. Despite nine consecutive quarterly price drops in the capital, the value of London homes remains only five per cent the all-time highs recorded in the first three months of 2017 and 50 per cent above the lows seen in 2007.

The North West was the top performing region last month with a 2.5 per cent annual rise in quarter three, compared to a 1.2 per cent change last quarter. The average house price rise in region is now £166,597.

On 30 September 2019, the Bank of England reported the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases fell to 65,500 in August, down from the 18-month high of 67,000 in July. But it remained within the narrow range seen in recent years.

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