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UK house prices rise at slowest pace in a year - RICS



Estate agents boards are lined up outside houses in south London June 3, 2014.   REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

Estate agents boards are lined up outside houses in south London June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

(Reuters) - British house prices rose at the slowest pace in a year during August, according to a survey on Thursday that suggested speculation about higher interest rates has dampened buyer confidence.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' monthly house price balance fell to +40 last month, its lowest level since last August, and falling short of forecasts for +47 in a Reuters poll of economists. July was revised down slightly to +48. Agreed sales fell for the first time since September 2012 and there was a second consecutive fall in buyer inquiries.

"Some of the momentum has come out of the housing market of late reflecting in part concerns over a likely rise in the cost of borrowing at some point in the not too distant future," said

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday the Bank of England may start to raise interest rates next spring if the labour market continued to recover from the financial crisis.

The RICS survey of chartered surveyors added to evidence that London's housing market is cooling off after fervent price growth earlier this year. The London house price balance eased to +9 in August from +11.

"There are signs that the London market is gradually moving onto a more sustainable footing with a modest increase in the number of instructions coming through slowly helping to create a

better balance with demand, and in the process, taking the edge off price gains," Rubinsohn said.

Britain's biggest housebuilder Barratt Developments on Wednesday predicted a return to "more normal" trends in Britain's housing market.

Other surveys paint a mixed picture of the housing market, which Carney has described as the biggest domestic threat to Britain's economy.

Mortgage lender Halifax on Monday said house prices barely

rose in August, while official data last week showed mortgage approvals dipped in July.

But another major mortgage lender, Nationwide, last week said house prices surged 0.8 percent in August, far outstripping forecasts.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Alison Williams)

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