House prices recover from late 2010 dip

 
Julian Harris
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HOUSE prices recovered for the second month in a row in March, suggesting that the housing market may be beginning to thaw.

Prices across the UK were up 0.5 per cent compared to February, when they also increased by 0.7 per cent on January, the Nationwide said yesterday.

Prices are now higher than in the same month in 2010, for the first time this year. Annualised, house prices were up narrowly, by 0.1 per cent.

However, the average house price (£164,751) remains considerably below levels reached in the middle of last year. In June 2010, the average house price across the UK measured £170,111, according to the Nationwide.

“The outlook remains uncertain, but all things considered, this is unlikely to mark the beginning of a strong upturn in prices,” warned Nationwide economist Robert Gardner.

In the quarter-on-quarter measure, which Nationwide recommends as the true underlying trend, prices are up 0.6 per cent, slightly recovering from the dip at the end of 2010.

London’s prices were up 2.3 per cent compared to the final three months of 2010, and up 2.1 per cent in March compared to the same time last year.

“The gap between the least and most expensive regions has widened significantly over the last five years,” Nationwide said. In London, the average price is £124,279 higher than the average across the UK, the survey said.