UK annual house price growth slows to five-year low - Halifax

LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices in the three months to October rose at their weakest annual rate in more than five years, major mortgage lender Halifax said on Wednesday, adding to existing signs of a housing market slowdown.

FILE PHOTO: A worker drives a dumper truck past a house being built on a construction site in Chester, northern England March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Annual house price growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the three months to October from 2.5 percent in the three months to September, Halifax said, the lowest rate since March 2013 though a slightly smaller fall than predicted in a Reuters poll.

Halifax said it continued to expect house price growth in 2018 to be within a zero to 3 percent range.

"House prices continue to be supported by the fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low," the lender, part of Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L, said.

Britain’s housing market has slowed overall since early 2016, particularly in London and nearby areas where higher purchase taxes on houses costing over 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) and reduced foreign investor interest since the Brexit vote have had the biggest impact. Outside London, house prices are growing more strongly.

In Britain as a whole, house prices grew by 0.7 percent on the month in October alone after a 1.3 percent decline in September, Halifax said.

“Housing market activity continues to struggle to gain momentum and we suspect the upside will remain limited over the coming months -- although there are varying performances across regions,” said Howard Archer, an economist at consultants EY ITEM Club.

Last week rival mortgage lender Nationwide reported a similar slowdown in house prices to a five-year low of 1.6 percent.

The most recent data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics, for the year to August, also showed a slowdown to a five-year low of 3.2 percent.

($1 = 0.7607 pounds)

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg