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House prices rise in March

The monthly Nationwide property report shows that UK house prices rose by 0.7% in March to hit an average of £164,519. This takes UK house prices back to the levels seen in January after the fall of 0.8% in February, which spooked many people and led to concerns about the short to medium term direction of the UK property market. So does this increase in March mean the end of any potential downturn?

While the 0.7% increase in March is welcome it is worth remembering that even though house prices are 9% higher compared to March 2009 they are still well down on the March 2008 figure which was £179,110. It was interest to see that Nationwide blamed the bad weather and the government's temporary reinstatement of stamp duty at the turn of the year as the reason for the fall in February. It also believes that greater political uncertainty in UK has led to some buyers holding off although thankfully the number of homes for sale has remained fairly steady meaning very little additional negative impact upon prices.

There is a growing feeling that the forthcoming election has taken many people's mind off the UK property market and indeed we could see an upsurge after the votes have been counted and the next government is in place.

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