Annual house price growth ran below 1% for the ninth month in a row in August as consumer confidence remains low, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The monthly index found that the average house price in August stood at £216,096 - slightly down on July's average of £217,663, the study found.

House prices increased at 0.6% on an annual basis, with the strongest growth coming from properties close to transport hubs in major cities.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: "While house price growth has remained fairly stable, there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months."

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He said: "Surveyors report that new buyer inquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued.

"Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable.
"Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy.

"In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity."

He added that London home-buyers are paying greater premiums for being close to a station, compared with Manchester and Glasgow, with buyers in the capital paying an extra 9.4% to be within 500m of a station.

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He said: "This probably reflects the greater reliance on public transport in the capital, with residents less likely to drive.
"London also has the densest network of stations and services, with 94% of properties within 1.5km of a station, compared with 72% in Glasgow (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport area) and 70% in Greater Manchester."

The chief of Shoe Zone has quit, as the high street retailer warned profits will be below expectations.

Nick Davis, who had been with the company since 2003, has left to "pursue other business interests" and will depart with immediate effect after the retailer said the challenging nature of the high street will hit profits.

Anthony Smith, Shoe Zone's executive chairman who now becomes chief executive on a permanent basis, said he would focus attentions on online and out of town larger stores due to the "challenging environment" on the high street.

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He added that a revaluation of its freehold properties means the company will take a £3.1 million hit, as the 17 buildings Shoe Zone owns fall in value from £8.4 million to £5.3 million.

An independent forensic review into payments made by mining giant Ferrexpo to a Ukrainian charity which were allegedly misappropriated has found no wrongdoing on the part of the directors, the company has said.

The review is now closed, after investigators said: "It has not been possible to explain a number of discrepancies ... relating to the charity and its use of funds donated by Ferrexpo.

"As a result, the (Independent Review Committee) has been unable to conclude as to the ultimate use of all of the funds by the charity, a third party."

The company said: "After careful consideration of the report together with the work of the IRC itself, the IRC is satisfied that none of Ferrexpo's directors, management or employees have had any involvement in any possible misappropriation of funds."