House prices continued to grow at a steady pace in July, with the cost of property rising 1%, accord...
House prices continued to grow at a steady pace in July, with the cost of property rising 1%, according to Nationwide's latest monthly survey.
Its figures show that an average house now costs £128,251 – an increase of about £11,000 since the beginning of the year.
However, annual house price inflation dropped for the fourth month in a row to 17.9% from 19.2% in June, reflecting a slowdown in house price growth.
The survey also shows that the number of first-time buyers is at its lowest level for more than 20 years - down 31% since the same time last year.
This could be put down to rising house prices, increasing deposit requirements and some employment uncertainty, says Alex Bannister, group economist at Nationwide.
Bigger deposits are especially affecting people trying to get on to the property ladder. The average first-time buyer now put down a 12% deposit, compared to a couple of years ago, when the typical deposit was relatively small - and sometimes none at all.
Regionally, Nationwide's figures show that prices are growing fastest in the North and Yorkshire & Humberside, while price inflation seem to have slowed down in the South.
Bannister says: "House price inflation remains lower in more expensive regions such as London and its immediate commuter belt."
Overall, Nationwide expects that house price growth will continue to slow down.
Bannister adds: "Our forecast of a 10% rise in house prices during 2003 implies monthly increases of just over 0.4% for the remainder of the year. Price growth has already slowed since the end of 2002 and we continue to expect a further easing as a result of weakening pay and job prospects."
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