April 30, 2009

Britain home price declines slow

The decline of home prices in Britain slowed in March to 0.4 percent, the smallest monthly drop in 11 months, the government said.

The Land Registry said prices eased back from a record annual rate of decline between 16.2 percent and 16.6 percent recorded in February.

The largest building society in Britain, Nationwide, said its index showed a decline of 0.4 percent in April, following a price gain of 0.9 percent in March, The Telegraph reported Thursday. The Nationwide Index covers all of Britain, while the Land Registry's figures covers only England and Wales.

In another sign of increased market activity, Britain's Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending rose 16 percent in the latest monthly survey.

Nationwide Chief Economist Fionnuala Earley said affordability is indeed more favorable and there does seem to be some cautious optimism from some quarters.

However, it is still far too soon to say that this is the start of a solid revival in the market, Earley said.

IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said there were increasing signs overall that housing market activity may have passed its worst point.