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House prices fall, says Nationwide (which also says they’ve gone up)

Thanks to the wonders of our old friend ‘seasonal adjustment’, Nationwide has pulled off the trick of announcing that house prices went up last month, while simultaneously declaring that they had gone down.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices crept up just 0.1%, with annual inflation in November standing at 4.4%.

However, without the massage of seasonal adjustment, Nationwide said house prices fell from £205,904 in October to £204,947.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said: “UK house prices increased by 0.1% in November, after taking account of seasonal factors. As a result, the annual rate of house price growth slowed slightly to 4.4%, from 4.6% in October, though this is still in line with the growth rates prevailing since early 2015.

“There are some signs that, despite the uncertain economic outlook, demand conditions have strengthened a little in recent months, reflecting the impact of solid labour market conditions and historically low borrowing costs.

“Mortgage approvals increased in October, and surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased modestly.

“The relatively low number of homes on the market and modest rates of housing construction are likely to keep the demand/supply balance fairly tight in the quarters ahead, even if economic conditions weaken, as most forecasters expect.”

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