LONDON, March 1 British house price rises
unexpectedly picked up speed in February, recovering from the
weakest month for more than a year in January, mortgage lender
Nationwide said on Wednesday.
Nationwide said house prices rose by a monthly 0.6 percent
in February, compared with 0.2 percent in January.
In annual terms, prices were 4.5 percent higher, a stronger
rise than January's 4.3 percent which was the weakest increase
since November 2015.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected house prices to
rise by 0.2 percent in February from January, and for annual
growth to slow to 4.0 percent.
Nationwide economist Robert Gardner said Britain's economy
was likely to slow this year as the country prepares to leave
the European Union and inflation eats into consumers' spending
"Nevertheless, in our view a small rise in house prices of
around 2 percent is more likely than a decline over the course
of 2017, since low borrowing costs and the dearth of homes on
the market will continue to support prices," he said.
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Louise Ireland)