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UK house price rises accelerate in February
[LONDON] British house price rises unexpectedly picked up speed in February, recovering from the weakest month for more than a year in January, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday.
Nationwide said house prices rose by a monthly 0.6 per cent in February, compared with 0.2 per cent in January.
In annual terms, prices were 4.5 per cent higher, a stronger rise than January's 4.3 per cent which was the weakest increase since November 2015.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected house prices to rise by 0.2 per cent in February from January, and for annual growth to slow to 4.0 per cent.
Nationwide economist Robert Gardner said Britain's economy was likely to slow this year as the country prepares to leave the European Union and inflation eats into consumers' spending power.
"Nevertheless, in our view a small rise in house prices of around 2 per cent is more likely than a decline over the course of 2017, since low borrowing costs and the dearth of homes on the market will continue to support prices," he said.