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By Andy Bruce
LONDON, June 7 British annual house price growth
slid to a four-year low last month, underlining the housing
market's slowdown since last year's Brexit vote, mortgage lender
Halifax said on Wednesday.
Average house prices in the three months to May were 3.3
percent higher than a year earlier, the weakest increase since
May 2013 and slowing from a 3.8 percent rise in April.
Economists in a Reuters poll had expected to see a somewhat
sharper slowdown to 3.0 percent.
In May alone, house prices were 0.4 percent higher than in
April, confounding forecasts for 0.1 percent drop.
With Britons just a day away from voting in a national
election, the figures added to signs that households are reining
back spending in the face of higher inflation fuelled by rising
energy costs and the weakened pound since the vote for Brexit.
A separate survey from rival mortgage lender Nationwide last
week showed house prices fell for three months in a row for the
first time since 2009.
"The fundamentals for house buyers are likely to deteriorate
further over the coming months with consumers' purchasing power
squeezed further by a combination of higher inflation and muted
earnings growth," Howard Archer, economist for forecasters EY
ITEM Club said.
The housing market has slowed sharply since last June's vote
to leave the European Union, when prices were growing by almost
10 percent a year. Bank of England figures showed the number of
mortgages approved by lenders slid to a seven-month low in
Still, Halifax said a weak supply of new homes and existing
properties for sale, combined with low interest rates and high
unemployment, should support house prices over the coming
(Editing by Adrian Croft)