The U.K. house price growth remained broadly stable in March at 2.1 percent, slightly down from the 2.2 percent the previous month, according to the Nationwide building society.
House prices fell by 0.2% over the month, after taking account of seasonal factors.
Home values increased by an average of 2.1% in the year to March, the lowest rate since August 2017, the lender’s data showed.
Over Q1, Northern Ireland saw the strongest annual rate of growth, with a substantial 7.9% gain, though prices in the region are still furthest below their pre-crisis levels, some 38% below their 2007 levels, while overall United Kingdom prices are 16% above.
Wales also saw a pick-up in annual house price growth, from 3.3 to 6.1 per cent.
And Scotland has managed annual growth of just 0.2%.
The West Midlands saw the strongest English growth in the first quarter, with prices up 4.9 per cent annually. Prices were forecast to rise 0.2%.
Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said that while the weakness in housing appears at odds with the UK’s strong labour market and the recent pickup in wage growth, he noted that “consumer confidence has remained subdued, due to the ongoing squeeze on household finances”.
Mr Gardner said: “Over the past two years the Southern English regions have seen a steady deceleration in price growth, which is now running at its slowest pace since 2012”.
However, these trends have so far made only small inroads in narrowing the North-South divide.
Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said Nationwide’s figures provide “more evidence that even the relatively modest increase in mortgage rates seen over the last six months has hit the market hard”.
“As a result, the scope for further increases in house prices driven by rising leverage is extremely limited”.
“Prices in the latter are turning negative as buyers and sellers come to terms with new market realities”.
Source: Click Lancashire