House prices fall for fifth consecutive month
By David Wood | 1st February 2023
House prices in the UK have fallen for a fifth month in a row.
The price of the average property in January was £258,297, down by 0.6% on December, according to Nationwide Building Society.
Annual house price growth slowed to 1.1%, down from 2.8% in December.
The country's biggest building society said it would be hard for the market to regain much momentum in the near term.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said "economic headwinds are set to remain strong", as rising prices continue eating into household budgets, the BBC reported.
He added that the affordability of mortgages would remain challenging in the short term due to higher interest rates, while saving for a deposit was proving a struggle for many, given the rising cost of living.
Yesterday, the Bank of England reported lenders had approved fewer mortgages than expected in December, about 35,000 compared with more than 46,000 in November.
That is the lowest number since January 2009, excluding the pandemic lockdowns.
Nationwide said the decline in approvals followed a big slowdown in mortgage applications following the government's mini-budget in September.
However, it said there were signs mortgage rates were slowly starting to improve.
Mortgage rates rose throughout last year as the Bank of England put up interest rates to tackle the soaring cost of living.
They spiked above 6% - their highest level for 14 years - after Liz Truss's mini-budget sparked panic on financial markets.
Since then markets have calmed and mortgage rates have fallen back somewhat, but they remain much higher than a year ago.
Nationwide's latest figures suggest mortgages are less affordable in all regions compared with 2021.
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