House prices across England and Wales remained unchanged in the month to March, with a typical home in the UK worth £164,630.
The latest figures from Nationwide’s monthly House Price Index revealed that while the property market flat-lined month-on-month, property prices surged by 0.8% year-on-year.
“House prices were unchanged between February and March after taking account of usual seasonal effects. However, in annual terms, house price growth moved into positive territory for the first time since February 2012,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.
Figures from the first quarter of 2013 also painted a more positive picture for house price growth in the UK, with seven out of 13 UK regions recording annual price rises.
As a traditional driver for UK property prices, London led the way with a 4.6% increase compared to the first quarter of 2012, with prices now higher than the pre-recession peak at £306,919.
This was followed by Wales, up 2.5% year-on-year, and Northern Ireland, which although still in negative figures, has improved from -8.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to -0.9% in the first quarter of 2013.
Scotland emerged as the worst performing region, with prices plummeting by 4.9% year-on-year.
“Amongst the English regions, the South of England and the Midlands continued to outperform the North of England,” added Gardener.
“Outside of London, the Outer Metropolitan was the strongest performing region, with annual price growth of 1.6%, whilst the North West was the weakest, with prices down 1.8% over the year.”
A recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicted that the average UK home would be worth £267,000 by 2018, compared to a current figure of £222,000.
This medium-term trend will be driven by ‘gradual wage and population increases’, according to economist and report author Daniel Solomon.