Average house prices in the United Kingdom rose 0.4 percent in 2010 as falling prices in the second half of the year offset gains in the first six months, a major mortgage lender said Friday.
The Nationwide Building Society, the country's third-largest mortgage lender, said average house prices were up 0.4 percent in December compared to November. For the last three months of the year — considered a better indicator of the trend — average prices were down 1 percent compared to the previous quarter.
"There is little to indicate that buyer demand is set to pick up materially from current levels. At the moment, there are probably still too few buyers chasing too many properties," said Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist.
"As a result, the slow drift down in house prices is likely to persist in 2011, at least for the first half of the year."
The average sale price in December was 162,800 pounds ($252,000), down from a peak of 186,000 pounds in October 2007.
Based on its own lending, Nationwide reported that average prices fell 15.9 percent in 2008, then rose 5.9 percent the following year.
Nationwide's figures have been more upbeat than those reported by Halifax, the nation's biggest mortgage lender. Halifax, which has yet to report December figures, has said that house prices in November were 2.4 percent lower than in December 2009.
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