U.K. Home-Price Growth Cools to 18-Month Low on ‘Subdued’ Market

U.K. house-price growth eased for a seventh month to its lowest level in 1 1/2 years in March as cooling demand caused a “subdued” property market, Nationwide Building Society said.

Values rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier, down from 5.7 percent in February, the lender said in a statement on Friday. That’s the slowest pace since September 2013. From the previous month, prices rose 0.1 percent.

While housing demand is supported by record-low borrowing costs, a growing economy and falling unemployment, record-high prices as well as lending curbs introduced by the Bank of England last year have damped home-loan approvals. Mortgage lending is well below a peak reached in January last year, when annual house-price growth was accelerating toward 10 percent -- and double that in London.

“Economic conditions have remained supportive, with labor-market conditions continuing to improve and mortgage interest rates close to all-time lows,” said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide. “Nevertheless, the pace of housing-market activity has remained subdued, with the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January around 20 percent below the level prevailing one year ago.”

The average house price stood at 189,454 pounds ($280,770) in March, leaving them 2 percent above their pre-crisis peak, according to Swindon, England-based Nationwide.

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