Nationwide raises its annual inflation estimate

Average house prices rose by 1.4% in March, Nationwide&#39s quarterly house price report reveals. This has led the lender to up its estimate for annual house price inflation to 15% from 9%.

The report shows that the average house price now stands at £142,584, 16.7% higher than a year ago. It also reveals that the strength of house price growth over the first quarter has been widespread with most regions experiencing a pick-up in growth compared with the fourth quarter of last year.

London, which was worst affected by the fall in confidence at the time of the war on Iraq, saw prices rise by less than 1% over the second and third quarters of last year.

But with the economy growing strongly and private sector bonuses rising the pick-up in the market, which began in the last quarter of 2003, continued into the first quarter of 2004.

Price rises in London, though a little stronger, are constrained by tight affordability and the capital remains at the foot of the growth league table with prices rising 6.3% year-on-year.