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UK Nationwide House Price Inflation Accelerates More Than Expected

UK house price inflation accelerated sharply in February, after slowing in the previous two months, and the pace exceeded economists' forecast, survey data from the Nationwide Building Society showed on Thursday.

The house price index rose 0.4 percent year-on-year following a 0.1 percent increase in January. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent gain.

On a month-on-month basis, house prices decreased 0.1 percent, partly reversing the 0.2 percent increase in January. The fall was in line with economists' expectations.

The average price of a UK house was GBP 211,304 in February versus GBP 211,966 in January.

"Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but survey data suggests that sentiment has softened," Nationwide's Chief Economist Robert Gardner said.

"Measures of consumer confidence weakened around the turn of the year and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries over the same period."

Though the supply of properties slowed, that was not enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favor of buyers in recent months, Gardner added.

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