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House prices Spring back in March

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30/03/2006

Spring may not have sprung yet in terms of the weather, but house prices have seen a spring bounce in March.

Nationwide’s latest House Price Report showed a 1.1% increase in March, after a brief pause in February. The annual rate of house price inflation is now 5.3%, bringing the average house price up to £162,083, according to the report. This is an increase of £8,000 on last year’s figure and the equivalent of a £22 increase every day.

Fionnuala Earley, group chief economist at Nationwide, said: “The housing market seems to have shrugged off bad news about job losses and downside risks to economic growth. The strength of the housing market has become one of the major factors in the MPC’s reluctance to reduce interest rates.”

She continued: “Estate agent and house builders’ survey data suggests that there is still growing interest in the market with rising levels of buyer enquiries, site visits and reservations. But, there are perhaps signs of some softening in other parts of the surveys, consistent with the latest weakening in house purchase approvals.”

According to Earley, this includes a less optimistic view of future sales activity among estate agents and a softening in the rate of growth of asking prices, suggesting prices are beginning to be constrained by affordability.

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