House prices up by 0.3%.

A report in the Daily Telegraph says that according to the building society's latest house price index survey house prices saw an increase of 03.% in February.  This was only the second gain recorded since May last year and left the average home costing £161,183.

Apparently Nationwide saw little reason to be optimistic, saying it expected the housing market to be 'sluggish' during 2011.

Annual house price inflation remained in negative territory, with prices 0.1% lower than in Feb last year, although this was a slight improvement on the fall of 1.4% seen in the year to the end of Jan.

Prices were also broadly flat, according to the three-month-on-three-month change, which is generally seen as a smoother indicator of market trends.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: ''This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Housing market trends are closely linked to wider economic prospects"

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