* Prices up 0.7 percent in May after 2.6 percent in April
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Asking prices for British residential properties rose more slowly in May than they did in April, property web site Rightmove said on Monday, in a sign that the past year’s rise in house prices may be cooling off.
The week before Britain’s May 6 election saw the biggest increase in new sellers since June 2008, but there was a sharp rise in unsold property because of a lack of mortgage finance for buyers, Rightmove said.
Asking prices rose by 0.7 percent in May compared to 2.6 percent in April, causing the annual rate of increase to slow to 4.3 percent from 6.0 percent.
“Sellers are starting to reduce their pricing expectations to court the fewer buyers who are able to proceed, though the number of buyers who can purchase is too low to bring volume back to the housing market,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s commercial director.
Asking prices in London — whose market is more affected by overseas buyers and financial-sector cash bonuses than the rest of Britain — fell by 0.4 percent in May, the first fall since December, slowing the annual increase to 5.7 percent.
Rightmove’s data is based on property advertised on its web site, which it says accounts for around 90 percent of property for sale in Britain. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Kevin Liffey)