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UK house prices fall, with weakest showing again by London

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Houses in the Greenwich district of London. Nationwide Building Society said that London remained the weakest market, with prices down one per cent in March from a year earlier.

London

UK house prices fell for a second month in March, according to Nationwide Building Society, which blamed the weakness on a gloomy consumer mood and a squeeze on incomes.

Values fell 0.2 per cent after a 0.4 per cent drop the previous month, the lender said on Thursday.

The annual pace of gains slowed to 2.1 per cent from 2.2 per cent, well below the rate of recent years, which left the average price at £211,625 (S$390,702).

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Nationwide said that London remained the weakest market, with prices down one per cent in March from a year earlier.

That tallies with others reports that show the city is taking the biggest hit after years of outperformance.

Prices there are falling at the fastest pace since the depths of the recession almost a decade ago, according to Acadata.

Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said that while the weakness in housing appears at odds with the UK's strong labour market and the recent pickup in wage growth, he noted that "consumer confidence has remained subdued, due to the ongoing squeeze on household finances".

The Brexit uncertainty, along with faster inflation, have undermined confidence. New buyers registering with real estate agents - a leading indicator of demand - is falling, and potential sellers are being cautious about listing. BLOOMBERG