House prices in surprise jump

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The Independent Online

The surprise strength of the UK jobs market could be behind the biggest monthly jump in house prices for two and a half years during August, lender Nationwide said yesterday.

Average house prices soared 1.3 per cent over the month to reach £164,729, reversing declines recorded over the previous two months.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: "This may be explained by the surprising resilience evident in the UK labour market, with further increases in employment in recent months, even though the UK economy has remained in recession." Dole queues shrank to 2.56 million in the three months to June.

Prices are still 0.7 per cent lower than they were a year ago.