United Kingdom: House price growth slows in March
According to the Nationwide Building Society, house prices in the United Kingdom fell 0.2% month-on-month in March, contrasting February’s 0.7% rise. On an annual basis, house prices were up 5.7%, below February’s 6.9% rise. March’s slowdown likely reflected weaker demand ahead of the original expiration of the stamp duty holiday at the end of the month.
Looking ahead, the housing market should remain robust in the near term, supported by the extension of the stamp duty holiday beyond March, and a new mortgage guarantee scheme to provide mortgages with minimal down payments.
That said, Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, cautioned:
“If the labour market weakens towards the end of the year as policy support is withdrawn, as most analysts expect, then activity is likely to slow nearer the end of 2021, perhaps sharply.”