UK house prices fell for a fifth month in January, the longest string of declines since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, Nationwide Building Society said Wednesday.
The mortgage lender said average home costs fell 0.6% this month and by a revised 0.3% in December, steeper than its previous estimate. The monthly decline was also more than economists had expected.
The declines mark the longest losing streak since 2008 and follows a jump in mortgage rates and the tightest cost-of-living crisis in a generation. Those factors are squeezing the spending power of home buyers, putting the cost of property out of reach to more people.
“The overall affordability situation looks set to remain challenging in the near term,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “There are some encouraging signs that mortgage rates are normalizing, but it is too early to tell whether activity in the housing market has started to recover.” Prices remain 1.1% higher than a year ago, reflecting pandemic stimulus programs including a tax break on home purchases.