House price recovery set to continue

ECONOMISTS are awaiting the latest data on house prices from Nationwide due this Thursday after property data company Hometrack yesterday said prices in England and Wales rose by an annual 1.8 per cent in April – their fastest pace of increase since January 2008.

The City is watching for further signs of a strengthening housing market recovery after mortgage lenders Halifax and Nationwide reported that property prices have risen almost 10 per cent from a low hit around a year ago, but access to finance is still hard for many buyers after the credit crunch.

However, Hometrack found monthly house price growth slowed to 0.2 per cent in April from 0.3 per cent in March on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to Hometrack’s monthly survey of estimates of realistic selling prices from estate agents and surveyors.

This monthly rise was driven by a 0.6 per cent increase in London, whereas prices in other regions were more typically flat or up by just 0.1 per cent. Yorkshire and Humberside in northern England recorded a 0.1 per cent price fall.

Hometrack said that the supply of property coming on to the market rose by 3.7 per cent, outstripping a one per cent increase in new buyers registering with agents.