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House price growth in surprise pick-up, says Nationwide/ Hampshire News

Annual house price growth picked up to 3.3% in January, according to the Nationwide building society.

The bank has stated that January's figures have been "a little surprising" giving

the weaker spending signs over the Christmas period.

That compares with an average of 67,000 approvals in the previous 12 months .Robert Gardner, the Nationwide's chief economist did state: "The acceleration in annual house price growth is a little surprising, given signs of softening in the household sector in recent months.

Looking ahead, the Nationwide said that modest growth in the UK economy and a squeeze on household budgets would keep a lid on house price rises. Low unemployment and relatively cheap mortgage rates meant that activity would not drop away entirely.

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