LONDON British house prices rose at the slowest annual rate in nearly three years during the Brexit vote period, according to figures on Wednesday from mortgage lender Halifax, which contrasted sharply with more upbeat numbers from rival lender Nationwide.
House prices in the three months to August were 6.9 percent higher than a year earlier, the smallest increase since October 2013 and down from a growth rate of 8.4 percent in July.
Prices fell 0.2 percent in August alone, extending a 1.1 percent fall recorded in July - in contrast to two successive monthly rises in July and August in a separate measure from Nationwide.
"The slowdown in the rate of house price growth is consistent with the forecast that we made at the end of 2015," Halifax economist Martin Ellis said.
"Increasing difficulties in purchasing a home as house prices continued to increase more quickly than earnings were expected to constrain demand, curbing house price growth," Ellis added.
Halifax did not mention any direct effect from Britain's June 23 vote to leave the European Union, though others such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have said it is weighing on sales and the outlook for prices.
"Looking ahead, the forthcoming stagnation of households’ real incomes, as inflation picks up and firms moderate hiring plans, will subdue consumer confidence and constrain prices," said Samuel Tombs, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Tombs said he expected British house prices to drop 3 percent from their pre-crisis level.
(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Estelle Shirbon/Jeremy Gaunt)