House prices rise 0.5 per cent

UK house prices rose 0.5 per cent in March compared with February, and 0.1 per cent compared with March 2009, Nationwide’s house price index has shown.

February’s price growth was also revised upwards to 0.7 per cent from 0.3 per cent originally reported.

But Global Insight chief economist Howard Archer warned that the growth was “highly unlikely to mark the start of a sustained, significant recovery in house prices.”

The monthly figures tend to show wide fluctuations because house prices are notoriously volatile, he added.

And as consumer spending and confidence slides in the face of public spending cuts and rising cost of living it is unlikely that house prices will have much room to rise.

"Never has a monthly price rise been less representative of the state of the property market,” said Nicholas Ayre, director of property agent Home Fusion. “Given the state of demand, the recent trend of price rises the Nationwide has observed is likely to