U.K. house price growth softened for the seventh consecutive month in March, the Nationwide Building Society reported Friday.

House prices advanced 5.1 percent year-on-year in March, slower than February’s 5.7 percent increase. The annual growth was also slower than a 5.3 percent rise forecast by economists.

However, house prices rose 0.1 percent on a monthly basis offsetting a 0.1 percent drop seen in February. Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent rise for March.

“Hopefully, construction activity will strengthen further in the period ahead,” Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said.

“Demand prospects remain favorable thanks to the strength of the labor market, continued low mortgage rates and schemes such as Help to Buy, which are helping to provide those with smaller deposits access to mortgage finance.”

In the first quarter, house prices advanced 0.6 percent from the prior quarter and 5.9 percent from the same period of last year. In London, annual price growth eased to 12.7 percent from 17.8 percent.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com