House keys Image: Day Donaldson

The pace at which Britain's house prices are growing slowed down again in May, according to the latest figures from Nationwide.

The building society said prices grew by 4.7% in May compared with May last year, following growth of 4.9% in April and 5.7% in March.

The figures add to evidence that the housing market is cooling, after buyers rushed to purchase properties in March before changes to the stamp duty land tax were introduced at the start of April. But Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner, said it was difficult to assess how strong the market is.

Mr Gardner said: "House purchase activity is likely to fall in the months ahead, given the number of purchasers that brought forward transactions.

"The recovery thereafter may also be fairly gradual, especially in the [buy-to-let] sector, where other policy changes, such as the reduction in tax relief for landlords from 2017, are likely to exert an ongoing drag.

"Nevertheless, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs are expected to underpin a steady increase in housing market activity once stamp duty-related volatility has passed, providing the economic recovery remains on track."

Based on its latest figures, Nationwide said the average house price is now £204,368 in the UK.