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House prices picking up nicely in 2006

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The housing market made a “strong start” in 2006, according to Nationwide, with prices rising 1.4% in January.

This is the biggest monthly rise since July 2004 and took the annual rate of house price inflation to 4.4%. Over the November to January period prices were up 1.8% compared to the previous three-month period.

The increase in January meant that the average house now costs £158,478 and in Nationwide’s view reflects the pent-up demand caused by August’s interest rate cut.

“This is a significant increase in prices and confirms the strengthening trends we have seen since October,” said Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide chief economist.


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