(Adds details, analyst quote)
LONDON, March 1 British house price rose more
quickly than expected in February, recovering from the weakest
month for more than a year in January but concerns about Brexit
are likely to weigh on the market in 2017, 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.
The resilience of Britain's housing market since the
referendum decision to leave the European Union in June has
confounded warnings from former finance minister George Osborne
of a sharp fall in prices if the country voted to leave.
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.
Pantheon Macroeconomics economist Samuel Tombs said there
were signs that prices would slow down soon, citing online data
which recently showed a weakening of growth in asking prices for
homes and in the size of mortgages.
"For now, then, the pickup in Nationwide's measure of house
price growth in February looks like volatility," Tombs said.
He said he also expected prices to rise by 2 percent in
A Reuters poll of more than 30 property market economists
and analysts published last month forecast growth in house
prices of 2.5 percent this year, 2.3 percent in 2018 and 3
percent in 2019.
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Louise Ireland)