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UK house prices rise weakly as Brexit weighs – Nationwide

LONDON (Reuters) – British house price growth remained weak in June as uncertainty about Brexit hung over the market, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Flowers are seen outside a house in central London, Britain January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

House prices increased by 0.5% compared with a year ago, slowing slightly after a 0.6% rise in May but in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

At the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016, house prices were growing by about 5 percent a year, according to Nationwides measure.

In monthly terms, house prices in June edged up by 0.1%, a slightly smaller increase than the median forecast in the Reuters poll for a rise of 0.2%.

Nationwides data chimed with other housing indicators which have suggested that a weakening of the market seen in 2018 might have bottomed out as investors wait for Britain to resolve its Brexit crisis.

“While healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, uncertainty is likely to continue to act as a drag on sentiment and activity,” Robert Gardner, Nationwides chief economist, said.

Price growth and transaction levels were likely to be little changed over the coming months, he said.

Britain is waiting for the ruling Conservative Party to choose its new leader who, as next prime minister, will attempt to strike a new Brexit deal with the European Union before an Oct. 31 deadline for the countrys departure from the bloc.

Nationwides data showed that prices in London fell for an eighth quarter in a row in the April-June period although the pace of decline moderated to 0.7% in annual terms from 3.8% in the previous quarter.

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