UK House Price Growth Slows More Than Expected

Economic and political uncertainty has affected sentiment with the proportion of people who think that now is a good time to buy a house falling to a nine-year low

Mortgage lender Nationwide said house prices rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in August, slowing from 2.9 percent in July and matching May's four-year low.

'This is important because these regions contribute significantly more than their par share of stamp duty revenues as house prices are well above the United Kingdom average, ' Gardner said.

Nationwide said that the pattern was "consistent with signs of cooling in the housing market and the wider economy".

Month-on-month, house prices fell 0.1% in August, reversing a 0.2% rise in July.

The slowdown recorded by Nationwide echoes other signs of a sluggish housing market. The economy created a healthy 125,000 jobs in the three months to June and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, the lowest rate for over 40 years.

'While measures of housing affordability are not particularly stretched at a United Kingdom level, pressures are evident in some regions - especially London and the South of England'.

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In any event, until the gap between house prices and incomes begins to close more meaningfully, Ed Stansfield, Capital Economics' economist, said mortgage demand will be constrained.

'The UK economy slowed noticeably in the first half of the year, and there has been little to suggest a significant rebound in the months ahead'.

The 2.1 percent annual increase matched May's reading, which was the smallest since June 2013.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: "The fundamentals for house-buyers are likely to remain weak over the coming months with consumers" purchasing power continuing to be squeezed by inflation running higher than earnings growth'.

Homebuyers in London and the South East have been the most hit by higher stamp duty than the rest of the country since a progressive system of taxation - according to which higher valued properties pay a greater share of total tax than before - was introduced a year ago. People are being forced to pay more and some markets are struggling because of it simply because it now costs too much to move.

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