Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

U.K. House Prices Drop in December as Economy Loses Steam

U.K. house prices fell for the first time in six months in December amid economic uncertainty and a squeeze on incomes.

Prices slid 0.6 percent on the month, the first decline since June, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday. Annual price gains slipped to 2.7 percent in the last three months of the year, from 3.9 percent previously.

In 2017, “house price growth slowed, whilst building activity, completed sales and mortgage approvals for house purchase all remained flat,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax Community Bank. “This has been driven by a squeeze on real-wage growth and continuing uncertainty over the economy.”

The U.K. housing market cooled last year as economic growth lost momentum, with London a particular weak spot. A report from Nationwide Building Society last week forecast prices will barely gain this year, while Halifax has a similar outlook, predicting a dearth of supply will prompt annual growth in the range of 0 percent to 3 percent.

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