Annual house price growth in Britain reached double figures for the first time in nearly three years during April, research showed today.
The average cost of a UK home rose by 10.5% during the 12 months to the end of April, the first time annual house price inflation has reached double figures since June 2007, according to Nationwide.
The rate was boosted by a 1% jump in house prices during April itself, leaving the average home costing £167,802 sterling. But the group said the figure was also helped by the fact that last April was one of the weakest months for house prices during 2009.
It also warned that it was unlikely that annual house price inflation would remain in double digit territory during the coming months.
'Given the very strong performance of house prices from May 2009 onwards, it will take monthly increases in excess of 1% for the annual rate of inflation to be maintained in double digits going forward,' commented Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist.
The group also pointed out that the three-month-on-three-month rate of growth, which is considered to be a smoother indicator of market trends, was continuing to decline.
The rate dropped to 1% during the three months to the end of April, down from 1.5% in the three months to the end of March, and the seventh consecutive month during which it has fallen.
The recovery in the UK housing market which has been seen during the past year has been largely driven by the supply of homes up for sale being unable to keep up with demand from potential buyers.
But recent reports have suggested that, while the rate at which new buyers are registering with estate agents appears to have stabilised, there has been an increase in the number of people looking to sell their home.
Buyer demand is also thought to have been hit by the next week's election, with people adopting a wait-and-see approach until they know who will form the next Government and what this will mean for their pockets.
Recent figures from the British Bankers' Association showed that the number of mortgages approved for house purchase recovered only slightly during March, after falling sharply in January, due to people buying lower value properties rushing through transactions to beat the end of the stamp duty holiday.
Economists said the subdued level of mortgage approvals seen during the first quarter of the year suggested that the housing market recovery may have lost momentum, with many commentators expecting prices to be flat during 2010.