LONDON May 30 House prices rose more slowly in
May than in April across England and Wales, a survey showed on
Friday, in another sign that Britain's housing market may be
starting to cool.
However, the report from property analysts Hometrack still
showed robust growth in outright terms, as house price growth on
an annual basis reached a new seven-year high.
House prices rose 0.5 percent in May, down from 0.6 percent
in April and the slowest pace of growth since January, Hometrack
said. The proportion of districts reporting price increases fell
to 42 percent from 50 percent the previous month.
The survey of estate agents and surveyors followed data on
Tuesday that showed British banks approved the smallest number
of mortgages since August last year.
"Strong price increases, widespread talk of a possible
housing bubble and recent warnings from the Bank of England on
house price inflation are starting to test the resolve of
buyers," said Richard Donnell, director of research at
Donnell said he expected to see further signs that house
price momentum was slowing in the months ahead, including signs
that London's red-hot property market is starting to cool off.
Still, prices rose 6.1 percent on an annual basis, the
strongest such rise since June 2007, just before the start of
the financial crisis.
Mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday that the price
of homes in Britain's capital may start to fall this summer,
potentially reducing the need for new measures to cool the
Britain's government said on Thursday its mortgage guarantee
programme has accounted for only a small fraction of lending for
home-buying, following criticism that the Help to Buy scheme was
helping to fuel a housing bubble.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Larry King)