Nationwide figures show prices 9% higher than March last year, but they failed to recover from January dip

House prices rose 0.7% in March according to the latest statistics from mortgage lender Nationwide.

The figures reverse the 0.8% fall in prices experienced in February, leaving prices 9% higher than in March last year. However, the increase failed to wipe out the 1.4% drop seen in January.

The Nationwide said the average house price was now £164,519.

Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist, said: “Preliminary figures show that the number of loans taken out for house purchases failed to recover from January’s large dip, suggesting that weakness in house sales at the start of the year may have been due to more than just the snowy weather.

"With greater than usual political and economic uncertainty ahead of the upcoming general election, potential homebuyers are proceeding cautiously.”

Clare Hartnell, property partner at Grant Thornton UK, said it was encouraging to see house prices showing signs of growth.

She said: “The initiative announced at last week's Budget to increase the SDLT threshold to £250,000 is a positive step by the government to help boost the residential market and it is hoped that it will help maintain steady growth in house prices over the coming months.”