United Kingdom: Housing market remains soft in March
According to the Nationwide Building Society (NBS), house prices in the United Kingdom rose 0.2% in March compared to the previous month in seasonally adjusted terms, contrasting February’s revised flat reading (previously reported: -0.1% month-on-month). On an annual basis, house prices rose 0.7% in March, up slightly from the 0.4% growth recorded in February. The average house price in March was GBP 213,102 (March 2018: GBP 211,625). Ongoing weakness in the housing market is likely linked to depressed consumer sentiment and intense Brexit uncertainty causing households to delay home purchases.
Going forward, house prices are likely to increase mildly, supported by a strong labor market and still-low borrowing costs. However, the evolution of the EU withdrawal process will be key; a smooth withdrawal could lift the cloud of uncertainty currently hanging over consumers and boost prices, while a no-deal Brexit or a lengthy delay could depress the property market.