(Adds comment from Nationwide economist, background)
LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - British house prices rose less than expected in May, figures from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Thursday, adding to evidence of a slowing property market since the 2016 Brexit vote.
House prices were up by 2.4 percent in the year to May, down from a rise of 2.6 percent in April and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
Prices fell by 0.2 percent from April, the third time this year that they have declined on a monthly basis, the figures from Nationwide showed.
House prices are rising much more slowly than before the 2016 referendum decision to take Britain out of the European Union, which hit consumer confidence and spending as a fall in the pound that followed that vote pushed up inflation.
Nationwide’s measure of house prices was growing by about 5 percent a year around the time of the Brexit vote. The lender said on Thursday it continued to expect house price growth of just 1 percent in 2018.
“There are few signs of an imminent change,” Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner said. “Surveyors continue to report subdued levels of new buyer enquiries, while the supply of properties on the market remains more of a trickle than a torrent.”
The Bank of England has said it expects to raise interest rates only gradually over the next three years and the shortage of homes for sale is also expected to continue to shore up prices. (Writing by William Schomberg; editing by John Stonestreet)