UK home prices fall slightly

Home prices in the United Kingdom declined last month and may fall “modestly” this year because of a weak economic recovery, Nationwide Building Society said yesterday, but the London market that is popular with Singaporean and other Asian investors stayed resilient.

The average cost of a home slipped 0.1 per cent to £162,262 (S$ 321,900) in December from the previous month, the UK lender said. From a year earlier, values were down 1 per cent.

Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner said: “The outlook remains uncertain. With the economic recovery expected to remain fairly weak, the housing market is likely to be characterised by low levels of activity again in 2013, with prices remaining flat or modestly lower.”

Britain’s fragile economy and tight credit conditions have restrained property market activity, although a lack of supply has supported prices.

In the fourth quarter, home prices rose 0.5 per cent compared with the previous three months and were down 1.1 per cent from a year earlier, Nationwide said.

Eleven out of 13 UK regions tracked by the lender had annual price declines last year, it said. London was the best-performing area with a 0.7 per cent gain, while Northern Ireland posted the biggest decline with 8.2 per cent.

Source : Today – 4 Jan 2013

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