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Home improvements building up

NATIONWIDE: NEW FORECAST OF 13% RISE

House prices continued to rise in August, up by 1.1 per cent, putting the average house price at £129,258, according to Nationwide&#39s monthly review of the housing market.

This continues a rising trend of a 1 per cent increase in July and a 0.9 per cent rise in June.

Group economist Alex Bannister says: “Although house price growth is set to slow, the current strength in the market is likely to be sustained for a number of months and we are revising our forecast for growth during 2003 to 13 per cent.”

RIGHTMOVE: 70 days on the market

Rightmove&#39s index reveals that prices remained virtually static in August, up by just £37 per property. But it said that the time houses spent on the market has begun to stabilise or fall slightly to just under 70 days following a steady rise since March.

Commercial director Miles Shipside says: “In terms of activity, the market is seeing a clear rejuvenation, particularly in those areas that have been slack over recent months.”

HOMETRACK: SUMMER STANDSTILL

Hometrack&#39s monthly survey of the housing market says house prices have not changed since July but it says the London housing market is showing signs of improvement with five boroughs seeing price rises, eight seeing price falls while 20 saw no change.

Housing market economist John Wriglesworth says: “During August, the housing market built on the improvements seen since early spring and the end of the Iraqi conflict, and is now showing continued signs of a return to health.”

Halifax: gradual slowdown

Halifax&#39s August house price index shows house price inflation of 1.3 per cent, down from 1.4 per cent in July but up from 0.6 per cent in June. It puts the average house price at £133,908.

Chief economist Martin Ellis says: “We expect the rate of house price growth to slow gradually over the remainder of 2003 and into 2004 as the rapid increase in house prices in regions outside Southern England over the past year or so make it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers in these parts of the country to get a foot on the housing ladder.”

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