U.K. House Prices Rise for Second Month on Mortgage Availability

U.K. house prices rose for a second month June as mortgage availability improved, pushing the annual gain in values to the highest since September 2010, Nationwide Building Society said.

Prices rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, when they advanced 0.4 percent, the Swindon, England-based customer-owned lender said in an e-mailed statement today. The average value last month was 168,941 pounds ($257,300), up 1.9 percent from a year earlier.

“Demand for homes has been supported by further modest gains in employment, as well as an improvement in the availability and a reduction in the cost of credit, partly as a result of policy measures,” said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide. “Signs of a modest improvement in wider economic conditions may also be playing a role.”

A report today showed consumer confidence rose to the highest in two years this month. The economy resumed expansion in the first quarter and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said this week that an economic recovery is “in sight.”

In the three months through June, home prices increased 0.4 percent from the previous quarter and 1.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Nationwide. London remained the U.K.’s most expensive market and recorded the biggest annual increase in prices.

Nationally, house prices are around 9 percent below their pre-crisis peak, Nationwide said. London house prices are 5 percent above their pre-crisis level.