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UK house prices accelerate again, but slowdown likely: Nationwide

[LONDON] British house prices rose by the most in nearly six years in annual terms in October but the mini-boom in the housing market is likely to slow soon, perhaps sharply, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday.

Prices increased by 5.8 per cent from September's 5 per cent rise, faster than a median forecast of 5.2 per cent in a Reuters poll of economists.

In monthly terms, prices were up by 0.8 per cent from September, a slight slowdown but faster than the poll forecast of 0.4 per cent.

Britain's housing market has defied a loss of momentum in the broader economy.

"However, activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March," Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said.

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Finance minister Rishi Sunak gave an extra boost to the housing market in July when he suspended purchase taxes for homes costing up to £500,000 (S$884,703) until the end of March next year.

Demand for homes with more space - reflecting the stay-at-home experience of many people during the lockdown - has also driven the housing market bounce-back.

The Bank of England said on Thursday that British lenders approved the highest number of mortgages since September 2007 in September, but there was a record drop in unsecured lending to consumers, suggesting growing caution among households.

REUTERS

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