Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

U.K. House-Price Growth Cooled in April After Investor Surge

  • Nationwide says home values gained 0.2% on month in April
  • Annual rate of growth eased to 4.9%, Nationwide says

U.K. house-price growth softened in April after a rush of investors trying to beat a tax change boosted the market earlier in the year, Nationwide Building Society said.

The average price of a home gained 0.2 percent from March to 202,436 pounds ($294,800), the lender said on Thursday. That’s down from 0.7 percent the previous month. The annual rate of growth eased to 4.9 percent from 5.7 percent.

Recent reports have painted a picture of a shortage of homes for sale being exacerbated by landlords trying to buy investment properties before a tax rise on second homes took effect on April 1. Nationwide said that while that effect may be temporary, more fundamental drivers such as record-low interest rates and an improving economy may mean further increases in values in the coming months.

“Activity is likely to fall in the months ahead given the number of purchasers that brought forward transactions,” Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner said. “However, it is possible that the recent pattern of strong employment growth, rising real earnings, low borrowing costs and constrained supply will tilt the demand/supply balance in favor of sellers and exert upward pressure on price growth once again in the quarters ahead.”

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