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House prices alter little in March, says Nationwide
UK house prices fell by 0.1% in April compared with the previous month, according to a survey by the Nationwide.

However, with an annual increase in property values of 0.9%, the building society said that there was "momentum" in the market.

The average UK home cost £165,586, the survey found.

Various surveys have suggested that price rises have been driven by increases in London.

Earlier in the week, the Land Registry reported that prices in the capital rose by 9.4% in the year to the end of March, the sharpest increase for nearly three years.

However, property prices in the north-east of England had fallen by 5.5% over the same period.

Many current homeowners would be concerned by such falls, although it is good news for some looking to buy a property for the first time.

'Gradual progress'

The Nationwide survey, which is based on its own mortgage data, found that prices across the UK had risen by 0.5% in the past three months compared with the previous three months.

Activity had edged up, with more approvals and a little more interest from first-time buyers, according to Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner.

"There are reasons for optimism that activity levels will continue to strengthen in the months ahead," he said.

"There are tentative signs that wider economic conditions are starting to improve, with the economy returning to growth in the first three months of 2013.

"Nevertheless, progress is likely to be gradual. Labour market conditions remain challenging, with the unemployment rate still elevated and wage growth failing to keep up with the rising cost of living."

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