LONDON British house price growth picked up speed in annual terms last month as investors sought out buy-to-let properties before the introduction of a new tax, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday.
House prices were 4.8 percent higher in February compared with the same month last year, a bigger increase than a 4.4 percent gain in January.
In month-on-month terms, house price growth remained steady at 0.3 percent, Nationwide said.
Economists taking part in a Reuters poll had expected prices to rise by 0.5 percent in monthly terms and by 5.0 percent on an annual basis.
British bankers have said they have seen growing demand for mortgages in recent weeks as investors seek to purchase buy-to-let properties before the new tax is introduced in April.
(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Larry King)