April 5, 2019 / 8:17 AM / 16 days ago

UK house price growth cools in early 2019, outlook subdued: Halifax

A house door is seen in London, Britain January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - British house price growth cooled in the first three months of 2019 in annual terms and the outlook is likely to remain subdued, given Brexit uncertainty and high property prices, mortgage lender Halifax said on Friday.

Compared with the same period of last year, prices rose by 2.6 percent, slower than a rise of 2.8 percent in the three months to February.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an annual rise of 2.3 percent for the first quarter.

Last week, data from rival mortgage lender Nationwide showed house prices picked up a bit of speed.

But Britain’s housing market remains weak, especially in London, as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to find a way to leave the European Union with a transition deal to cushion the shock to the economy.

Shortly before the Brexit referendum in 2016, house prices were rising by about 10 percent a year, according to Halifax.

The lender said that prices in March, in monthly terms, fell by 1.6 percent after jumping by 6.0 percent in February.

Halifax’s index has tended to be more volatile than other measures of house prices of late.

(This story has been refilled to correct headline and story to show annual house price growth slowed to 2.6 percent, rather than accelerated to 3.2 percent, after data provider Halifax published erroneous figures)

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by David Goodman and Angus MacSwan

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