UK house price slide accelerates in March: Nationwide

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices slid in March at the fastest annual rate since the financial crisis, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday.

House prices fell 3.1% year-on-year, the biggest such drop since July 2009, Nationwide said. Compared with February this year, prices were 0.8% lower.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to fall by 2.2% from a year earlier and by 0.3% in monthly terms.

Nationwide said the market was still feeling the effects of a “turning point” last year – the September economic agenda of former prime minister Liz Truss, which prompted a confidence crisis in British assets and hammered the mortgage market.

“It will be hard for the market to regain much momentum in the near term since consumer confidence remains weak and household budgets remain under pressure from high inflation,” said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner.

Other gauges of the housing market have also looked subdued, although the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors this month said a slump in new buyer enquiries eased off a little.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Kate Holton)