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UK Nationwide House Prices Fall Most Since 2009

The UK house prices declined at the fastest pace since 2009 as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic filtered through the property market, data from the Nationwide Building Society showed Tuesday.

House prices fell 1.7 percent month-on-month in May, in contrast to a 0.9 percent rise in April. This was the biggest fall since February 2009. Economists had forecast a fall of 1 percent.

On a yearly basis, house prices grew 1.8 percent in May, much slower than the 3.7 percent rise in April and economists' forecast of 2.8 percent increase.

Housing market activity has slowed sharply as a result of the measures implemented to control the spread of the virus, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said.

Mortgage activity has also declined sharply. "Nevertheless, our ability to generate the house price index has not been impacted to date, as sample sizes have remained sufficiently large (and representative) to generate robust results," Gardner added.

The economist said the medium-term outlook for the housing market remains highly uncertain, where much will depend on the performance of the wider economy.

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