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Price rise slows to just 0.4%

The average house price rose by 0.4 per cent in February to £118,521 from £118,048 in January, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The annual increase hit 24.8 per cent but it was the smallest monthly price growth since October 2001.

Nationwide says it is too early to say if this is the start of a sustained slowdown as other factors must be taken into account, such as changes in take-home pay.

It warns that pay settlements and bonuses have been weak and the 1 per cent rise in National Insurance contributions will hit pay packets.

But Nationwide says conditions facing the typical house buyer remain positive.

Group economist Alex Bannister says: “Although conditions remain positive, they are likely to slow throughout the second half of the year, with prices in December up by around 10 per cent on the same time a year earlier.”

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