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UK house prices rebounce in August as lockdown eased: survey

Xinhua News,LONDON
2020-09-02 23:55

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LONDON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The average house price in Britain saw a robust recovery in August, as lockdown restrictions eased and pent-up demand came through, the mortgage lender Nationwide Building Society said Wednesday.

The average house price across Britain in August was 224,123 pounds (about 300,143 U.S. dollars), rising by 3.7 percent compared with the same month a year earlier, said the Nationwide in its House Price Index.

Meanwhile, on a monthly basis, the average house price in August was 2.0 percent higher than in July after taking account of seasonal factors, hitting the highest monthly rise since February 2004, figures showed.

"House prices have now reversed the losses recorded in May and June and are at a new all-time high," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, adding that it reflected the "unexpectedly rapid recovery" since the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Gardner said the rebound was due to a number of factors, suggesting that "pent-up demand is coming through, where decisions taken to move before lockdown are progressing."

"Moreover, social distancing does not appear to be having as much of a chilling effect as we might have feared, at least at this point," Gardner added.

Gardner reckoned the rising trends "look set to continue in the near term, further boosted by the recently announced stamp duty holiday."

Nonetheless, Gardner was concerned over the tapered activity quarters ahead as labor market weakens due to the after effects of the pandemic and winding down of the government's support schemes.

"If this comes to pass, it would likely dampen housing activity once again in the quarters ahead," Gardner added.
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