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House prices drop in January: survey

British house prices fell by 0.2 percent in January from December, when they dropped by the same amount, a key survey by home-loans provider Nationwide showed on Wednesday.

The average value of a home in Britain stood at £162,228 in January, according to Nationwide. That was a rise of 0.6 percent compared with the same month last year.

"Given the challenging conditions prevailing in late 2011, with the UK economy contracting in the final three months of the year, it's not surprising that house price growth softened at the start of 2012," Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said in a statement.

"The demand/supply balance may move further in favour of buyers in the months ahead. 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.

"Nevertheless, with the flow of properties coming onto the market still more of a trickle than a flood, house prices are likely to continue to move sideways or only modestly lower in the months ahead," Gardner added.
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