Housing market shows signs of improvement

"The housing market continued to provide evidence of improvement in February. Prices in the three months to February were 1.9% higher than in the previous three months.  This was the third successive increase in this measure of the underlying trend. Prices were also 1.9% higher than in the same period a year ago.

"House sales also continue on a modest upward trend. This increase in both house prices and activity in recent months is consistent with evidence of some improvement in market conditions.  The more than half a million increase in the number of people in employment over the past year is likely to have been a factor supporting housing demand.

"We expect to see a national increase in house prices over the course of 2013. Weak income growth and continuing below-trend economic growth, however, are likely to remain significant constraints on housing demand."

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