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Was the housing market up or down in March?

Conflicting reports on the UK housing market have led to concerns about the quality of housing surveys across the country. Earlier this week we saw the Nationwide report show a 0.9% increase in house prices in March while Friday's Halifax report showed a 1.9% reduction. There is now severe confusion as to which report is correct and how they could be so very different when looking at the same market.

There are concerns that short-term volatility could be unduly affecting the figures from the Nationwide and Halifax and many experts are now suggesting the three-month figures are more informative. Looking at the three-month performance of the UK housing market both reports still show a significant reduction although there is a difference in their figures. The Nationwide data, at the time, suggested that short-term volatility could impact on one month by month figures although quite why they are so different to those released by the Halifax is a mystery.

All eyes will be on figures for April and May with investors looking for signs of a bottoming out of the UK housing market and possible "green shoots" of recovery. The ongoing reduction in UK base rates has yet to kick in but at some point we should see interest return.

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