New figures show that UK property prices rose by 0.4% during October to take the annual rate into positive territory for the first time since last March.

The average value of a UK house increased to £162,038 after six months in a row of rises, helping prices to grow at an annual rate by 2% in October, according to the Nationwide Building Society.

But the data showed a slowdown in the monthly pace of increase following the buoyant summer months, down from 0.9% in September and 1.4% in both July and August.

Nationwide said the easing in monthly growth may signal that more properties are coming on to the market.

Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist, said: 'A moderation in the rate of house price inflation was to be expected, as the very strong monthly increases seen over the summer months were unlikely to be sustainable over the long run.'

Today's figures are consistent with borrowing data out yesterday that showed a slowdown in activity, with net mortgage lending last month - up by £922m - easing in comparison with August.

Nationwide warned that the UK's failure to lift out of recession in the third quarter may further hamper the housing market recovery.