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House price growth slows

House price growth slowed fast between January and April this year, down to 2.2% from 6.9% at the end of 2007, according to the new figures from Nationwide.

Scotland was the most resilient of all regions – prices there are now 6.3% higher than they were a year ago, which puts it four percentage points above the UK average of 2.2%.

In London, Nationwide reports the first quarter-on-quarter fall since 2005, which caused the annual rate of inflation there to drop from 12.8% to 5.6%. This is likely to have happened because affordability was already stretched, and worries emanating from the City towards the end of last year would also have affected price growth, ventures the report.

Despite these figures, London prices are still showing the highest rate of annual growth in England and Wales, although the gap between London and that of its closest competitor, Outer Metropolitan is narrowing. The steepest decline in inflation was in fact in the South West where annual growth dropped from 6.4% at the end of 2007 to 0.3% at the end of this quarter.

However it is Scotland which remains the strongest performer: ‘Scotland has outperformed England and Wales since 2003, and remains the strongest part of the UK in terms of house price growth,’ says the report. ‘The annual pace of growth in Scotland has been slowing quarter by quarter for a year, but is still almost three times faster than in any of the other countries in the UK, and is about 84% of the price of a typical UK property.’