Rows of residential properties stand in front of the City of London financial district in London, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

London House Prices Fall as U.K. Property Continues to Cool

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. house-price growth has slowed to the weakest pace in five years, while London values are falling, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The lender said the “subdued economic activity” and squeezed household budgets are keeping a lid on demand, and the national market is unlikely to see any change to the recent trend in the near term.

Nationwide’s monthly report showed U.K. prices rose 2 percent in June from a year earlier, down from 2.4 percent in May. London is the worst-performing market, with values down 1.9 percent in the second quarter, it said.

The lender expects U.K. property-price inflation to continue to weaken, with prices rising just 1 percent this year.

“Surveyors continue to report subdued levels of new buyer enquiries, while the supply of properties on the market remains more of a trickle than a torrent,” said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide. “Looking further ahead, much will depend on how broader economic conditions evolve, especially in the labor market, but also with respect to interest rates.”

The Bank of England held off raising interest rates in May, though it’s hinted monetary policy may tighten at some point later this year. It raised benchmark borrowing costs to 0.5 percent in November, the first hike in a decade.

Housing reports have been downbeat in recent months. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ gauge of house prices came in at minus 3 last month, which although an improvement from April is still consistent with no change in prices.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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