House prices in the UK inched up just 0.1 per cent in March, a further signal the property market is continuing to cool.
That number took annual growth to 5.1 per cent, down from February’s 5.7 per cent, the seventh consecutive monthly slowdown in growth. That means growth is now at an 18-month low.
“Economic conditions have remained supportive, with labour market conditions continuing to improve and mortgage interest rates close to all-time lows,” said Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner.
“Nevertheless, the pace of housing market activity has remained subdued, with the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January around 20 per cent below the level prevailing one year ago.”
The average house price in the UK climbed to £189,454 from £187,964 in February.
But analysts are still confident of improvement in the property market this year, after prices weakened in 2014.
IHS Global Insight's Howard Archer said: “With housing market activity seen gradually picking up over the coming months, we forecast house prices to rise by around 5 per cent in 2015.”
The moderation was evident in all but one of the regions in the UK. In the north of England, quarterly growth came in at 4.7 per cent for the three months to March, compared with 4.4 per cent for the final quarter of 2014.
In London, which remains the strongest performing region, growth slowed "noticeably", with the annual rate of house price growth at 12.7 per cent this quarter, compared to 17.8 per cent in the previous quarter.