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UK house prices edge up but Brexit drag persists

London

BRITISH house prices, which have almost flat-lined ahead of Brexit, grew a bit more quickly in October, a survey from mortgage lender Nationwide showed.

House prices rose by 0.4 per cent on the year, Nationwide said on Tuesday, the 11th month in a row that annual price growth remained below 1 per cent.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to another rise of 0.2 per cent, which would have matched September's eight-month low.

Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said average prices rose by £800 (S$1,400) over the last 12 months, a sharp slowing compared with the 12 months to October 2016, just after the Brexit referendum, when prices jumped by £9,100.

Some measures of the housing market have shown prices falling recently in London and neighbouring areas.

Nationwide said in October alone, British house prices rose by 0.2 per cent, also slightly stronger than forecasts of no change in the Reuters poll.

Mr Gardner said Britain's strong labour market - the silver lining of the economy before Brexit - and low borrowing costs were offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook.

"The question is whether this pattern will continue," he said.

The European Union agreed on Monday to delay the Oct 31 Brexit deadline by up to three months and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would push on with his attempt to end Britain's political paralysis with an early general election on Dec 12. REUTERS

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