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Steady house price growth in January, Nationwide Index shows

House prices have risen by 0.3% in January, according to the latest findings from Nationwide.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said the pace of UK house price growth has remained broadly stable during the first month of this year. In fact, annual house price growth has now stayed in a fairly narrow range (between 3% and 5%) since the summer of 2015.

“This trend was maintained in January, with house prices up 4.4% over the year, broadly in line with the 4.5% increase recorded in December,” Gardner commented.

“As we look ahead, the risks are skewed towards a modest acceleration in house price growth, at least at the national level.  The labour market appears to have significant forward momentum. Employment has continued to rise at a robust rate in recent months and, while the pace of earnings growth has slowed somewhat, in inflation-adjusted terms regular wages continue to rise at a healthy pace.”

Gardner added that the demand for homes is likely to strengthen in the months ahead, with interest rates likely to stay on hold for longer than previously anticipated.

“The concern remains that construction activity will lag behind strengthening demand, putting upward pressure on house prices and eventually reducing affordability,” Gardner concluded. “Indeed, the market is already characterised by a shortage of stock, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reporting that the number of properties on estate agents’ books remains close to all-time lows.”

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