UK house prices growing at slowest pace in almost seven years | Business News

Annual house price growth is at its lowest level in almost seven years, with London house prices suffering most.

UK house prices were up by just 0.6% in the year to February with an average of £226,000, a much more subdued picture than the 1.7% increase seen in the year to January.

It marked the lowest annual increase since September 2012 (0.4%) according to the Office for National Statistics, the Land Registry and other bodies who released the figures jointly.

The national slowdown is largely due to falling prices in London and the South East of England.

Prices in London were down by 3.8% in the year to February, faster than the 2.2% decrease seen in the year to January.

In the South East, prices fell by 1.8% during the year.

Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said: “Annual house price growth has slowed to the lowest rate in close to seven years.

“Growth in Wales and the west of England was offset by a sustained fall in London and falling prices in the South East for the first time since 2011.”

Jamie Durham, economist at PwC, said “uncertainty around Brexit” was weighing on the capital’s housing market but prices there are still the highest in the UK at an average of £460,000.

He added: “Elsewhere in the UK, however, house prices continued to rise. The highest price growth was in the North West, with annual house price inflation of 4.0%. The Midlands also maintained strong annual house price growth, particularly in the West Midlands, with annual growth of 2.9%.”

Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart estate agents said: “While clarity over Brexit would be helpful – it is not absolutely vital. Although prolonging the inevitable is certainly frustrating, this level of uncertainty has become the new normal, and since the New Year, we have seen buyers sweep their fears under the rug and return to the market.

“Pent up demand has been building for months and Brits are ready to move. The extended negotiation period is not going to stop them.”

Ray Rafiq Omar, chief executive of Unmortgage, said: “There’s a real need to think outside the box to help those who are stuck renting and badly want to own their own home.

“The government needs to take greater steps in meeting housebuilding targets and creating some much needed movement within the market.”

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