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House price escalator rolls again

The latest report from the Nationwide Building Society reports that “House prices strengthened their upward momentum at the start of 2010, increasing by a seasonally adjusted 1.2% month-on-month in January. The 3 month on 3 month rate of change – usually a smoother indicator of the near term trend – dipped slightly from 2.3% in December to 2.1% in January, but this primarily reflects the smaller price increases recorded in November and December. At £163,481, the average price of a typical UK property cost 8.6% more than a year earlier in January, up from 5.9% in December.

“Unless there is a fall in property values in February, annual house price inflation is likely to move into double-digit territory next month for the first time since May 2007. A mixed bag of macroeconomic data for the housing market “Over the course of the last month, there were several important pieces of economic news with relevance for the housing market.

“The news that the UK economy finally emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of 2009 was in many ways a mixed bag. Although it is clearly encouraging that economic activity is no longer falling, it remains a long way below the pre-recession level and is not yet growing convincingly. Although there may still be some upward revisions to the initial estimates of economic growth, this won’t change the fact that the rebound in the housing market – and particularly house prices – has gone some way beyond the recovery in the overall economy. This is a reversal of the picture in 2007-2008, when the housing market deteriorated much more quickly and at an earlier point in time than the wider economy. “Despite the economy’s unconvincing exit from recession, the labour market figures have continued to see welcome improvement….”

So that’s all right then. Download full report here