House prices slip in the winter snow during February

Published ¤ 26/02/2010 17:00:00

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Nationwide's latest House Price Index shows that house prices fell by 1.0% month-on-month in February. However, it is too early to say if this is the start of a new trend.

Commenting on the figures Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's Chief Economist said:
"The price of a typical UK property fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0% month-on-month (m/m) in February, ending a strong run of nine consecutive monthly increases. The relatively smoother three month on three month rate of inflation remained positive at +1.6%, though this is down from +2.0% in January and a peak of +3.7% in September 2009. The annual rate of price inflation still managed to increase from 8.6% to 9.2% year-on-year, as this month's fall was smaller than the 1.5% m/m decline recorded in February 2009. The average price of a typical property sold in the UK during February was £161,320.
One-off factors may have played a role in February
There is evidence from a range of indicators that the market may have lost momentum in early 2010 as the stamp duty holiday ended and house hunters were obstructed by the icy weather. New buyer enquiries dropped sharply in the New Year and there was also an associated drop in the number of new mortgages taken out by homebuyers in January. This drop in demand seems to have fed into agreed prices during February. Judging from the fall in retail sales during January, however, the housing market does not appear to be the only sector of the economy to have experienced a setback related to adverse weather and the expiry of economic stimulus measures. At this stage, it is difficult to gauge how much of the drop in housing activity is attributable to one-off factors and therefore whether February's fall in prices is just a temporary blip or the start of a new trend."
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