Growth in British house prices cooled for the third month in a row in March, despite recording their biggest annual rise in almost four years, data from mortgage lender Nationwide showed today.
House prices rose 0.4% last month, the slowest pace of monthly growth since June last year, slowing from an upwardly revised 0.7% increase in February, Nationwide said.
But in year-on-year terms, house prices in March were 9.5% higher, stronger than a rise of 9.4% in the 12 months to February and the biggest annual jump since May 2010.
The average price of a house in Britain now stands at £180,264, about 3% below the 2007 peak unadjusted for inflation, Nationwide said.
"There is little doubt that the recovery in the housing market is now firmly established, with activity levels picking up and house prices recording their 15th successive monthly increase in March," said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide. "But there are some tentative signs of moderation," he added.
Data from the Bank of England on Monday showed mortgage approvals slowed more than expected in February, possibly reflecting bad weather during the month.
Gardner said low mortgage rates, easier credit and a brighter outlook for the economy were all boosting demand for housing although the supply of houses continues to lag far behind.