House-price growth slows to six-year low amid weak confidence
House price growth slowed sharply as 2018 drew to a close, with the UK recording its weakest annual growth in nearly six years.
Annual house price growth slowed from 1.9 per cent in November to 0.5 per cent in December, Nationwide Building Society has said.
But Scotland fared slightly better, with house prices in 2018’s fourth quarter 0.9 per cent higher annually, at £147,856 on average.
The 0.5 per cent increase in December was the weakest since February 2013.
House prices were down by 0.7 per cent month-on-month in December. Across the UK, the average house price in December was £212,281.
London and some commuter belt areas surrounding the capital have seen house prices dip year-on-year.
In London, the average house price in the fourth quarter of 2018 was £466,988 – 0.8 per cent lower than the same period in 2017.
Northern Ireland was the strongest performer, with house prices in the fourth quarter of 2018 up by 5.8 per cent annually to reach £139,599 on average, followed by the East Midlands and Wales, where house prices lifted by 4 per cent annually.
Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said: “UK house price growth slowed noticeably as 2018 drew to a close, with prices just 0.5 per cent higher than December 2017.
“This marks a noticeable slowdown from previous months.”
He said there have been indications a softening in the housing market was likely, including weakened consumer confidence.
Mr Gardner said: “The economic outlook is unusually uncertain. However, if the economy continues to grow at a modest pace, with the unemployment rate and borrowing costs remaining close to current levels, we would expect UK house prices to rise at a low single-digit pace in 2019.”