House price inflation slowed to 2.5 per cent during December, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This was the lowest annual rate of house price inflation since July 2013 and continued the slowdown seen in the housing market over the past two years.
The average UK house price was £231,000 in December 2018 – £6,000 higher than a year previously.
On a month-on-month basis, house prices only rose by 0.2 per cent between November and December.
Dilpreet Bhagrath, mortgage expert at Trussle, said: “Even with the slight increase in prices, it’s clear that Brexit nerves and uncertainty is still affecting the market. Not to mention the ongoing lack of supply, with more risk-adverse sellers staying put until the economic picture becomes clearer.
“That said, for new buyers, the current low interest rate climate coupled with the government’s commitment and extension of the help-to-buy scheme will offer further support for those hoping to get a foot on the ladder.
“For the slightly more cautious first-time buyers, opting for fixed rate mortgage deals might be favourable, giving complete clarity over how much your mortgage costs each month so that you can plan ahead.”
Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, added: “Slower house price growth is no doubt a reflection of potential buyers choosing to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach before committing to the biggest purchase of their life – a home.
“To tackle this, lenders are offering near record low deals to reassure borrowers that there is still plenty of opportunity to lend.”
The lowest annual growth was in the North East, where prices fell by 1 per cent over the year to December 2018, followed by London where prices fell 0.6 per cent over the year.
House prices in London have now fallen from a peak of £488,527 in July 2017 to £473,822 in December.
Meanwhile house price growth was strongest in Northern Ireland, where prices increased by 5.5 per cent, and Wales, where house prices increased by 5.2 per cent.
The ONS said the increase in house prices in Wales was driven by strong growth in the south east of the nation, likely linked to the abolition of tolls on the Severn Bridge.
Despite the strong house price growth in Northern Ireland, it remains the cheapest area of the UK for property, with the average home costing £136,669 compared to £247,886 in England.
Source: FT Adviser