Monday, January 2, 2012

House prices fall as Nationwide warns of sluggish 2012

House prices in Britain dipped in December, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday, adding that the property market looks likely to remain sluggish next year as a weak economy and rising unemployment keep a lid on consumer spending.

House prices fell 0.2pc from November on a seasonally adjusted basis, although they rose 1pc from the same month last year. In a Reuters poll, analysts had forecast a monthly increase of 0.1pc and a 1.5pc annual rise.

"With the UK economy struggling to gain momentum, labour market conditions are likely to remain challenging in 2012, deterring buyers from entering the housing market," said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner.

"The housing market in 2012 looks likely to be characterised by low levels of activity once again, with prices moving sideways or modestly lower over the course of the year," he said.

Belfast was worst-performing city, with prices falling 19pc to an average of £161,326. London was best performing city, with prices rising 5.4pc to just under £300,000. Read More