March 15, 2010 / 8:15 AM / 9 years ago

House price growth slows

Estate agents signs are seen outside properties in south London July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - The annual growth in asking prices for residential property in England and Wales slowed in March for the first time in a year after a glut of houses came on to the market, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

Year-on-year price growth slowed to 5.3 percent from February’s 6.1 percent — the first fall in the annual rate since it reached its nadir of -9.1 percent in February 2009.

March typically sees an increase in the amount of property for sale after the depth of winter is past, but this year the trend was exacerbated by the iciest weather for 30 years in January and February.

The non-seasonally adjusted data showed asking prices rose just 0.1 percent between February and March compared to 3.2 percent between January and February, the weakest March growth since the series began in January 2002.

“In some areas more restrained pricing is required as a direct consequence of buyers having more choice,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s commercial director.

“We still forecast some further rises in the first half of this year when buyers have picked over the newly marketed stock, though the small increase in March shows how much more unpredictable the market has become,” he added.

Rightmove said that March saw the highest new property supply for 18 months, a view echoed in a March 9 report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Mortgage lenders Halifax and Nationwide both reported that sale prices for homes fell in February.

Rightmove’s data is based on the prices of more than 100,000 properties advertised on its web site between February 7 and March 6, which it says accounts for 90 percent of the total property market.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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