Further evidence of a stabilisation in the housing market came today as official data showed that property prices jumped at the fastest rate in years in July.
The 1.7 per cent increase in the prices paid for properties in England and Wales last month was the biggest monthly jump since May 2004, and takes the annual decline to 11.7 per cent, the smallest decrease since October last year.
The average house price is £155,885, close to levels seen at the beginning of the year, figures from the Land Registry show.
Figures released this month suggested that prices continued to climb in August.
Nationwide said that prices, based on mortgages it approved, rose by 1.6 per cent during this month.
While activity in the housing market has picked up, it is still well below average levels, the Land Registry said.
There were an average of 35,848 house purchases a month between February and May, down from 61,743 in the same period last year.