House prices reverse January fall as confidence increases

 
Tim Wallace
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HOUSE prices rose across the country in February, according to data published yesterday – although asking prices for prime properties have taken a hit from the seasonal dip in buying activity.

Average prices rose 0.6 per cent in the month, Nationwide figures showed, rebounding from the 0.3 per cent fall in January.

Prices were up 0.9 per cent compared with February 2011 – a jump from the 0.6 per cent annual rise recorded in February.

“The data suggests that economic conditions may not be quite as weak as feared after the UK economy contracted in the final quarter of 2011,” said Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner.

“Surveys of activity in the manufacturing and service sectors point to a rebound in January, while consumer confidence and retail spending were both stronger than expected during the month.”

However, asking prices on prime properties – the top quarter of the market by value – have been cut by 0.4 per cent since the start of the year according to PrimeLocation.com.

London escaped the fall in prices, with a 0.6 per cent rise in prime prices.