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House prices show 'tentative' signs of recovery - experts outline conditions for buyers and sellers

House prices are showing "tentative signs of recovery" after falling for seven consecutive months.

The average UK house price increased by 0.5% month on month in April, according to Nationwide's index.

The market is still worse than it was in 2022 with prices 2.7% lower than they were a year ago.

The average price of a home in the UK was £260,441 in April, according to the lender.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide Building Society's chief economist, said: "While annual house price growth remained negative in April at minus 2.7%, there were tentative signs of a recovery, with prices rising by 0.5% during the month (after taking account of seasonal effects).

"April's monthly increase follows seven consecutive declines and leaves prices 4% below their August 2022 peak."

Bank of England data suggested the number of approved mortgages in February was 40 percent lower than the previous year and a third lower than before Covid, Nationwide said, leaving the market "subdued".

But Mr Gardner added: "In recent months industry data on mortgage applications point to signs of a pick-up.

"If inflation falls sharply in the second half of the year, as most analysts expect, this would likely further bolster sentiment, especially if labour market conditions remain strong."

It won't be a quick road to recovery, though, as it will take time for household finances to catch up to soaring inflation and interest rates, which have increased mortgage payments, Nationwide said.

For those looking to buy, conditions are improving slightly according to Jason Tebb, chief executive of property search website OnTheMarket.com. He said: "More stock is becoming available, as the typically busier spring months start to encourage more sellers to come to market, providing buyers with increased choice more akin to pre-pandemic conditions.

"This, combined with tighter budgets as a result of consecutive interest rate rises and the high cost of living, means that buyers are less willing or able to pay inflated property prices."

Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of property buying agency Garrington Property Finders, said it was "unquestionably" a buyer's market.

Although shockwaves from Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-Budget last September are slowly fading, those trying to sell their home can't be as bold as recent years.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of estate agents' body Propertymark, said: "Sellers are still in a strong position to sell; however, they can no longer test the market at higher prices and align with those achieved last year. Instead, they will need to reduce or be open to offers for a more realistic and efficient sale."

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Image courtesy of iStock.com / georgeclerk.

Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.