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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

UK house price growth 'grinds to a halt' as uncertainty goes on

House price growth in the UK 'ground to a halt' last month, according to the latest Nationwide figures.

The lender's house price index for September shows a monthly change of -0.2% and annual growth of just 0.2%.

Monthly growth figures dropped from a flatline (0%) in August, while the annual growth figure was slightly higher at 0.6%.

Nationwide calculates the average UK price at £215,352 for September, down from £216,096 in August.

The latest figures mark the tenth consecutive month in which annual house price growth has been below 1%.

"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," says Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

"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."

Gardner says a healthy labour market and low borrowing costs are offsetting the drag from an uncertain economic outlook.

Nationwide has also released its quarterly statistics for July, August and September. Annual growth during Q3 dipped to 0.3% from 0.6% in Q2.

The top performing regional market was Northern Ireland, recording quarterly growth of 3.4%. This was followed by Wales (2.9%), the North West (2.5%) and the West Midlands (2.1%).

The worst performing regions last quarter were London (-1.7%), Outer Met (-1.5%) and Outer South East (-0.6%). 

Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons, comments: "There is widespread acknowledgement from buyers that, due to an acute shortage of good quality stock, prices have firmed or in some cases have started to see a recovery."

"As soon as there is any kind of certainty from government, we wholly expect there will be a wave of activity and as a result, buyers in central London are seizing the opportunity to make that purchase now."

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, adds: "We are confident that once a decision is made and we have a clear path ahead, we will see a resurgence in activity and buyers returning."

"When the extension of Brexit was announced [in March] there was a spike in activity in the market, which again reiterates the fact that it is uncertainty holding buyers back rather than a lack of interest."

"Once activity starts to increase and buyer confidence returns, which it will, prices will start back on an upward trajectory," he says.

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