House price growth slowed sharply in December, index finds

House price growth slowed sharply in December, index finds

He added that Nationwide expects United Kingdom house prices to rise at a low single-digit pace in 2019.

The building society's new House Price Index shows that prices fell by 0.7% last month, with properties going for an average of £212,281, down from £214,044 in November.

Nationwide attributes to uncertain economic outlook as being a drag on home buyer sentiment.

"That said, we continue to doubt that a sustained period of falling house prices is likely", Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics said as quoted by the Independent.

Northern Ireland was the strongest performer, with house prices in the fourth quarter of 2018 up by 5.8 per cent annually to reach £139,599 on average, followed by the East Midlands and Wales, where house prices lifted by 4 per cent annually. By contrast, Scotland saw a more modest 0.9% increase, while England saw the smallest rise of just 0.7% over the year.

The regional picture is varied, with prices in Northern Ireland performing the best in the United Kingdom with a growth rate of 5.8% in 2018.

But while houses across London and large swathes of the Home Counties are now worth up to 1.4 per cent less than 12 months ago, those in Yorkshire are worth an average of 3.7 per cent more. "What will happen in the short-term is far more hard to predict".

Indeed, even though house prices have been rising more quickly in the north of England since Q2 2017, price levels are still significantly higher in the south.

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"While we are all guilty of letting ourselves go a bit during the festive season, this slow in house price growth has, of course, been exacerbated by the wider political landscape and the continued issues surrounding Brexit".

The unparalleled growth in the north was in contrast to the overall picture in the United Kingdom, where the weakest annual growth was recorded in nearly six years.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: "The Nationwide numbers are one of the most comprehensive and well-established reports of housing market activity so command respect".

He said: "After steady progress, without much change one way or the other, prices have experienced a nasty bump".

He said: "Looking forward, this is always a fairly quiet time anyway for the market so the reasonable start we have had to business won't be seen in the figures for at least the next month or so".

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: "Lenders remain keen to lend and mortgage deals competitive".

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