Economy "unlikely to provide housing market with initial momentum"

Housing price changes are likely to remain minimal over the first six months of 2012, with the economy unlikely to provide much in the way of momentum, according to Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner.

According to Nationwide's research, house prices have dropped by around 0.2% over the last month. Despite this, the cost of a house in the UK remains 0.6% higher than those prices registered by the firm during last year's research. The research estimates that the current average price of a typical home in the UK now stands at £162,228, with any further changes likely to prove minimal in the immediate future.

Mr Gardner noted that the softening in house price growth came as the UK economy contracted over the final three months of the year. "The economy is not expected to gather much momentum until the second half of 2012 at the earliest, which suggests that labour market conditions and buyer sentiment may be slow to improve," he warned.