LONDON (Reuters) – British house price growth cooled unexpectedly in May to its slowest rate in three months, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday, countering other signs the housing market may be past the worst of its pre-Brexit slowdown.
House prices increased 0.6% in May compared with a year ago after rising by 0.9% in April. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 1.2% rise in May.
House prices in May fell 0.2% from April, when they grew 0.3% on the month Nationwide said.
The figures looked at odds with other tenative signs that activity in housing market is gradually picking after slowing sharply through 2018.
While house prices have been rising across the country as a whole, prices in London have fallen according to various indicators, hit by unaffordable prices for many buyers, tax changes and Brexit uncertainty.
“Nationwide’s data confirm that house prices remain on an essentially flat trend, primarily because Brexit uncertainty has instilled some caution among buyers,” economist Samuel Tombs from Pantheon Macroeconomics said.
“The trend likely won’t improve in the next couple of months, given the political deadlock in Westminster.”
Mortgage lending data for April from the Bank of England, which had improved in recent months, is due at 0830 GMT.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Susan Fenton and Alison Williams)