UK houses prices recorded their first rise since October 2007 last month. The Nationwide Monthly House Price Index has revealed that property prices in March increased by 0.9% compared with the previous month. The average home is now priced at £150,946, up from £147,746. Home purchase activity also increased to its highest level since May last year and the sales-to-stock ratio - a good indicator of movements in house prices - has stabilised somewhat in 2009. While the changes have been described as a surprise bounce, the property market does seem to be showing some small signs of recovery. The Bank of England recently reported that mortgage approvals improved markedly in February, while a number of recent polls and surveys have found that buyer enthusiasm is on the up. Fionnuala Earley, chief economist at the building society, said that the recent upturn in activity is likely to be due to the return of buyers who delayed purchasing at the end of 2008 because of the financial crisis. "Nevertheless, the willingness of borrowers to return to the market is encouraging and likely to in part reflect the falling costs of borrowing," she added.
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