Annual house price growth fell for the third month running to 2.1% in May, Nationwide’s house price index has revealed.
This is its lowest level of growth in nearly four years.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “House prices recorded their third consecutive monthly fall in May – the first time this has occurred since 2009.
“It is still early days, but this provides further evidence that the housing market is losing momentum.
“If history is any guide, the slowdown is unlikely to be linked to election-related uncertainty.
“Housing market trends have not traditionally been impacted around the time of general elections.
“Rightly or wrongly, for most home buyers, elections are not foremost in their minds while buying or selling their home.”
But eMoov founder and chief executive Russell Quirk wondered whether the unusual nature of this year’s snap General Election could have more of an impact on market activity than most.
He said: “It is unclear as to whether the market is losing momentum or if buyer demand is unseasonably hibernating due to the oncoming election, but Nationwide have been quick to highlight that previous elections have had little impact on traditional house price trends.
“It’s fair to say, however, that previous years were a tad more routine than a snap election called in the middle of negotiations to leave the EU and it is likely that the market is seeing an influence from both sides.”
Rob Weaver, director of investments at property investment marketplace Property Partner, reckoned the election has effectively brought forward the usual summer slowdown.
He said: “Against a backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and with a snap election, it’s no surprise the housing market is in cool-down mode.
“The polarisation between the two main parties is far more acute than before, and with a spate of unexpected political outcomes across the world, many will have adopted a ‘wait and see’ policy.
“For the property market, this simply means the usual summer slowdown has started early.”
Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, highlighted the regional housing market divide.
He said: “While cities such as Birmingham and Manchester are experiencing strong house price growth, in London and the South East, we’re starting to see a slight correction in the eye watering prices we have grown accustomed to.
“Across the country, however, home ownership is still out of reach for many.”