Nationwide: House prices remain steady

Robyn Hall

May 1, 2013

The average price of a UK home is now £165,586, up from £164,630 in March.

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of Dragonfly Property Finance, said: “No change in March and a negligible decline in April give the impression that the property market has stabilised.

“In some areas of the country this is true, but it should not hide the fact that in many areas of the UK, especially the North, prices are still under real pressure.

“In reality, the market remains fragmented with prices in London rising at a rate of knots and many areas in Northern England still seeing declines.

The Index also found that mortgage approvals for house purchases averaged just over 53,000 per month in the first quarter of 2013, up from an average of 51,000 per month in 2012.

House purchase lending was also up 4% year on year during in the first two months of the year, boosted by higher levels of lending to first time buyers (which was up 18% at £2bn).

First time buyers accounted for 43% of house purchase loans in February, the highest proportion since the index began in April 2005 (excluding March 2012 which was artificially inflated due to the ending of the stamp duty holiday).

Samuels said: “The Funding for Lending Scheme has almost certainly had an impact high unemployment, zero wage growth and high inflation are constraining consumer confidence.

“Although mortgage approvals have picked up, it will not take much for them to fall again. Despite avoiding the Triple Dip recession the UK economy remains on thin ice and any more setbacks could see consumers quickly retrench.”

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