LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - British house prices fell unexpectedly last month, pushing the annual rate of price increase to one of its weakest rates in more than four years, figures from major mortgage lender Halifax showed on Wednesday.
Halifax said that average house prices fell 0.6 percent in January, against a forecast of a 0.2 percent rise in a Reuters poll, lowering the annual rate of price growth in the three months to January to 2.2 percent from 2.7 percent in December.
This was the lowest year-on-year growth rate since July, when prices rose as their slowest rate in more than four years.
“Although employment levels grew by 102,000 in the three months to November, household finances are still under pressure as consumer prices continue to grow faster than wages,” said Russell Galley, a managing director at Halifax. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Alistair Smout)