Thursday, March 29, 2012
The start of a trend?
LONDON (Reuters)- House prices suffered their sharpest monthly fall in more than two years in March, as first-time homebuyers braced for the removal of a purchase tax exemption, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday. Nationwide reported a 1.0 percent seasonally adjusted fall in house prices on the month, the biggest since February 2010, and a sharp contrast to the 0.3 percent rise predicted in a Reuters poll of economists and February's 0.4 percent increase. An exemption from stamp duty land tax for first-time buyers of properties costing under 250,000 pounds expired on March 24. Nationwide's data is based on mortgages it approves, and it said that approvals in March would generally be too late for purchases to be finalised before the March 24 deadline.