British house prices up 1.3 pct in August

British house prices up 1.3 pct in August

LONDON - Reuters
British house prices up 1.3 pct in August

A British Airways jets arrives over the top of houses to land at Heathrow Airport. REUTERS photo

British house prices showed their strongest monthly rise in more than two-and-a-half years this month, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Aug. 31, in contrast to a generally weak picture for the country’s property market and broader economy.

Nationwide said house prices rose by 1.3 percent in August after falling a downwardly revised 0.8 percent in July. That left prices 0.7 percent lower than a year earlier - a smaller drop than the 2.2 percent decline forecast in a Reuters poll.

Bank of England data on Aug. 30 had shown a bigger-than-expected rise in net mortgage lending in July, but the number of mortgage approvals stayed weak and Nationwide cautioned against reading too much into August’s data.

Conditions are stable

“Monthly price changes have been impacted by a number of one-off factors this year,” said Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner. “Nevertheless, the fact that the annual pace of house price decline moderated ... provides evidence that conditions remain fairly stable.”

Growth in employment in recent months, despite a mild recession which started late last year, was a major factor behind the limited decline in house prices, Gardner added.