UK house prices took a pre-Brexit hit in December, falling by the most month on month since mid-2012 and rising by their slowest pace in nearly six years in annual terms, according to latest data from Nationwide.
House prices fell by 0.7 per cent from November, the biggest monthly fall since July 2012, Friday’s data showed.
Nationwide said it expected prices to rise at a low single-digit pace in 2019 but its forecast was dependent on the economy continuing to grow modestly, something that looked “unusually uncertain.”
Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “UK house price growth slowed noticeably as 2018 drew to a close, with prices just 0.5% higher than December 2017.
“This marks a noticeable slowdown from previous months, where prices had been rising at a c2% pace. However, it is broadly in line with our expectations (since the start of the year we had been anticipating a price rise of c1% in 2018).
“Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchases, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but forward-looking indicators had suggested some softening was likely.
“In particular, measures of consumer confidence weakened in December and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries towards the end of the year. While the number of properties coming onto the market also slowed, this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers.”
“In one line: A bad end to the worst year since 2012,” economist Samuel Tombs from consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics said, adding: “Other surveys show that buyer demand fell sharply towards the end of last year, as consumer confidence deteriorated.”