UK house prices fall by least in eight months, ONS says

Views of Tata Steel Port Talbot steel production plant in Port Talbot, Wales

LONDON (Reuters) -British house prices fell by the least in eight months in February when they edged down by 0.2% on an annual basis after a revised 1.3% decrease in January, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.

The ONS also said its gauge of private rents rose by 9.2% in the year to March - the biggest increase since records started in 2015 and up from 9.0% in the 12 months to February.

Other measures of Britain's housing market have shown a recovery from a recent slowdown as investors braced for cuts to interest rates by the Bank of England later this year.

Mortgage lender Halifax said earlier this month that property prices fell for only the first time in six months in March. Rival Nationwide said prices rose in March at their fastest annual pace since December 2022.

But a slowdown in the fall of British inflation in data published on Wednesday prompted investors to trim expectations of interest rate cuts by the BoE, with a first and possibly only cut in Bank Rate fully priced in for November.

(Reporting by Suban Abdulla, editing by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg)