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UK property asking prices rise by the least since 2009

This adds to signs of a slowing housing market ahead of Brexit

London

ASKING prices for British homes rose by the least in a decade over the past year, property website Rightmove said on Monday, adding to signs of a slowing housing market ahead of Brexit.

Rightmove said prices for newly advertised property were up by just 0.2 per cent in February compared with a year earlier, the smallest increase since 2009, although they increased by 0.6 per cent on the month, in line with the seasonal average.

With wages rising at an annual rate of more than 3 per cent, according to official data, the affordability of houses was improving at its fastest since 2011, the company noted.

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"In theory, the scene would be set for an active spring if it were not for the uncertain political backdrop," Rightmove housing market analyst Miles Shipside pointed out.

Britain is on course to leave the European Union without a transition deal on March 29 unless Prime Minister Theresa May can somehow broker a revised agreement with the bloc that is acceptable to her divided party and Parliament.

British house prices have slowed over the past year, mostly in London and nearby regions, as Brexit worries added to the headwinds from stretched affordability and higher purchase taxes for rental properties and houses costing over £1 million (S$1.75 million).

Official data last week showed annual house price growth slowed to 2.5 per cent in December, the lowest since 2013, while surveyors see the weakest near-term outlook for prices since 2011.

Rightmove's data is based on property advertisements on its website, which it says accounts for 90 per cent of residential property on sale in the United Kingdom. REUTERS