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House prices edge downwards in April – Nationwide

"The three month on three month measure of house prices, a better measure of the underlying trend, showed a modest rise of 0.6%.

"Since November 2010 house prices have increased in three months and fallen in three months. However, it is not unusual
to see a pattern of modest monthly increases and decreases when the market is fairly static, as has been the case since last summer.

"There is still little evidence to suggest that price declines will accelerate in the months ahead. While the UK economy only
managed a modest bounce-back at the start of the year, after the weather-induced contraction in late 2010, the economic
recovery is expected to gather momentum.

"Household budgets remain under pressure, but labour market conditions have shown a modest improvement in recent months. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 7.8% in the three months to February and employment increased by 143,000 over the same period, driven by a rise in full time employment.

"Together with continued low interest rates, a gradual improvement in the labour market should help to provide support for housing demand, while limiting the number of forced sales. Nevertheless, a strong rebound in the market remains unlikely as the recovery is still expected to remain modest by historic standards. In our view, the most likely outcome is that house prices will continue to move sideways or drift modestly lower through 2011."

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