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Nationwide CEO: London housing market will cool


Nationwide Chief Executive Graham Beale said the price of homes in London could start to fall over the summer months amid signs that the booming housing market in Britain's capital may be cooling.

House prices are soaring in London and have risen by a tenth over the past year in Britain as the economic recovery and record-low interest rates tempt purchasers back into one of the world's most expensive property markets.

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However, Beale said estate agents were starting to report a reduction in the number of viewings for properties and house price reductions.

"My view is that in London we will see a natural correction through the summer months. That intense heat does seem to be dissipating a bit. We could be seeing the early signs of a natural correction," Beale told Reuters on Wednesday.

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Bank of England officials have become more vocal about their concerns over the housing market in recent weeks while Britain's biggest mortgage lender Lloyds Banking Group said it was introducing tougher lending criteria to help tackle rising prices.

Nationwide, Britain's third-biggest mortgage lender, said it more than doubled its underlying profit last year and hit a capital target set by Britain's financial regulator a year early.