Annual house price growth slows to weakest pace in nearly six years

Northern Ireland house prices were the strongest performing in the UK during 2017 with a 5.8% increase to an average of £139,599 research has found

Northern Ireland house prices were the strongest performing in the UK during 2017 with a 5.8% increase to an average of £139,599 research has found

The Nationwide Building Society said Friday that house prices fell by a monthly rate of 0.7 per cent in December, the biggest monthly decline since July 2012.

House prices in Yorkshire appear to have bucked the national trend by ending 2018 almost four per cent higher than at this time a year ago, according to new figures.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said, "UK house price growth slowed noticeably as 2018 drew to a close, with prices just 0.5% higher than December 2017".

"The economic outlook is unusually uncertain", he added, blaming the slowdown on Brexit uncertainty given wage growth and employment are both strong.

Mr. Gardner also called United Kingdom economic outlooks "unusually uncertain", but added that housing prices could rise in the single digits in 2019 should the economy continue modest growth trends and "unemployment and borrowing costs remain close to current levels".

The unparalleled growth in the north was in contrast to the overall picture in the United Kingdom, where the weakest annual growth was recorded in nearly six years.

Northern Ireland was the strongest performer, with house prices in the fourth quarter of 2018 up by 5.8% annually to reach £139,599 on average, followed by the East Midlands and Wales, where house prices lifted by 4% annually.

Wales also outperformed the United Kingdom average with prices up 4% over the year.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the economic forecasting group EY ITEM Club, said the market had ended the year "very much on the back foot".

Britain's housing market has weakened since the June 2016 Brexit vote, led by price falls in London. "Price growth in the south... moderated throughout the year, while in the northern regions... price growth remained broadly stable in the 3 per cent to 4 per cent range".

House prices soldiered on throughout 2018 and then threw their arms up and crawled over the line with just yards to go.

However, the average price of a Yorkshire home - £157,436, - is still less than half that in the fashionable south-east commuter belt that takes in Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead.

House prices in London and southern England saw a small decline of 0.2%.

"We've probably had our busiest year last year from first-time buyers to around £1m or £2m properties".

He said: "After steady progress, without much change one way or the other, prices have experienced a nasty bump".

"Looking forward, this is always a fairly quiet time anyway for the market so the reasonable start we have had to business won't be seen in the figures for at least the next month or so", he added. As we move closer to a Brexit resolution one way or another, there is still more uncertainty on the horizon but lenders remain keen to lend and mortgage deals competitive.

Man charged with capital murder in 7-year-old girl's death
May Could Postpone Final Brexit Agreement Commons Vote Again