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Nationwide reports surprise house price bounce

Nationwide has revealed a “surprise bounce” in its latest House price Index as prices rose by 0.9 per cent in March.

The mutual revealed that, according to its Index, house prices increased by 0.9 per cent in March, what it says is its highest level of activity since May 2008.

It says the average UK house price is now price £150,946, up from £147,746 in February. But although the monthly averages saw a bounce, year-on-year averages are still down by 15.7 per cent.

Nationwide chief economist Fionnuala Earley says: “Spring brought a surprise bounce to house prices in March.

“The moderation in the annual rate of fall is somewhat distorted by conditions last year and so it would be unwise to draw strong conclusions from the significant slowdown in the annual rate of fall. Equally, while the rise in prices in March is welcome, it is far too soon to see this as evidence that the trough of the market has been reached.

The building society says the measures taken by the Bank of England will take time to work through into the housing market before anyone will see a sustained recovery in house prices.

Earley adds: “Mortgage approvals have started to increase after reaching levels which were thought out of the question two years ago. February saw the number of monthly approvals increase to 37,900, its highest level since May 2008. This is still far below the long run average of the series, which started in 1993 of 94,000 per month, but is a significant improvement on the average for the second half of 2008, which was only 32,000.

“The upturn is welcome and is certainly a signal that there is some movement in the market.”


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