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HOUSE prices in the north have increased at the sharpest rate in the UK, according to a new survey.

The latest Nationwide figures show that the Northern Ireland market remains the best performing, with annual growth the strongest of all UK regions.

The average house price in the north between April and June was £143,343, 5.2 per cent more than the same period a year ago and greater than the 3.3 per cent increase recorded in the previous quarter.

Wales was next in the figures, reporting a 4.2 per cent jump to an average of £160,407, followed by Yorkshire and Humberside (3 per cent growth).

The UK as a whole reported muted growth of 0.6 per cent to an average of £215,910. This was heavily influenced by the English market, with prices roughly flat in the last quarter compared to a year ago.

London saw annual prices fall for the eighth quarter in a row between April and June – down 0.7 per cent, although that was an improvement on the 3.8 per cent drop seen in the previous three months.

Over the month between May and June UK house prices edged up 0.1 per cent between May and June, but there are concerns Brexit uncertainty is set to weigh on growth over the coming months

Property prices edged higher month on month in June to an average of £216,515 after adjustment for seasonal factors.

This marks an improvement on the 0.2 per cent monthly fall recorded in May.

But, the building society warned that, while low mortgage rates and a healthy jobs market will help support the property market, wider uncertainty in the economy will take its toll.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said: “Survey data suggests that new buyer inquiries and consumer confidence have remained subdued in recent months.

“Housing market trends are likely to continue to mirror developments in the broader economy.

“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, with price growth and transaction levels remaining close to current levels over the coming months.”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club, said: “We believe, with Brexit being delayed until October 31 – and it currently very unclear what will happen then – and the domestic UK political situation unsettled, prolonged uncertainty will weigh down on the economy and hamper the housing market.

“Consumers may well be particularly cautious about committing to buying a house, especially as house prices are relatively expensive relative to incomes.”

Source: Irish News

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