Nationwide house price decline brings good news for first-timers

01 April 2005
Nationwide has revealed a sharp decline in house prices, spelling good news for first-time buyers.

According to the building society, house prices fell in March at their sharpest rate in almost ten years, decreasing by a seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent - the greatest fall since June 1995.

The drop brings the annual rate of increase to just 7.9 per cent from 10.2 per cent in February, Reuters reports.

The decrease might not put a smile on the faces of many sellers, but first-time buyers and mortgage-holders can rest easy in the knowledge that a Bank of England hike in interest rates is unlikely in the short-term.

"There seems to be a little more breathing space on the timing of any change in UK interest rates," said Alex Bannister, group economist for Nationwide.

"Evidence of a continuing gentle slowdown in the housing market as shown by the latest data is likely to reinforce this view."

Sellers were criticised by property website Rightmove last week for asking unrealistic prices for their homes.

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