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UK house prices rise less than 1% in Oct as Brexit weighs - Halifax

UK house prices rise less than 1% in Oct as Brexit weighs - Halifax
A worker walks past a picture of the London skyline outside the sales office of a property development in central London July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files -
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LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices rose at their slowest annual pace in six-and-a-half years in October when they inched up by 0.9%, mortgage lender Halifax said, the latest sign of how Brexit uncertainty is weighing on the housing market.

Compared with September, prices fell by 0.1%, Halifax said on Thursday.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said consumers were “erring on the side of caution” although low interest rates and wage growth were underpinning the market.

“We remain unchanged from our view that activity levels and price growth will remain subdued while the UK navigates political and economic uncertainty,” he said.

Shortly before the 2016 Brexit referendum, house prices were surging by 8-9% a year, under Halifax’s measure.

Rival mortgage lender Nationwide said last week that house prices rose 0.4% in October compared with the same month last year, the 11th month in a row that annual price growth remained below 1% by its measure.

The European Union agreed on Oct. 28 to delay the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline by up to three months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called an election for Dec. 12 to try to break the Brexit impasse in Britain’s parliament.

Howard Archer, an economist with EY ITEM Club, a forecaster, said he expected house prices would rise by around 2% in 2020 if Britain leaves the EU with a deal by Jan. 31, and would fall by about 5% if there is no transition agreement to ease the shock.

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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