November 1, 2018 / 7:24 AM / 16 days ago

UK house prices rise at slowest pace in over five years - Nationwide

FILE PHOTO: A row of houses are seen in London, Britain June 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices rose at their slowest pace in more than five years in October as uncertainty about the economy in the run-up to Brexit weighed on the market, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday.

Compared with October 2017, prices rose by 1.6 percent, down from an increase of 2.0 percent in September and below a median forecast of 1.9 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

That was the weakest increase since May 2013, before Britain’s housing market started to throw off the after-effects of the global financial crisis.

House prices based on Nationwide’s index were rising by about 5 percent a year at the time of the referendum decision to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Prices were flat in October in monthly terms after 0.2 percent rise in September, Nationwide said.

It said it continued to expect that prices would rise by around 1 percent in 2018 with household budgets still stretched and as the outlook for the economy remained unclear ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU in March 2019.

“Looking further ahead, much will depend on how broader economic conditions evolve,” Nationwide economist Robert Gardner said. “If the uncertainty lifts in the months ahead, there is scope for activity to pick up throughout next year.”

Writing by William Schomberg; editing by John Stonestreet

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