House prices rising slightly

New figures also show sharp decline in repossessions

House prices in February were up 0.2 per cent compared to January, according to the Land Registry which puts the average price in England and Wales at £162,606

Separate figures also released today by Nationwide suggest UK house prices were unchanged between February and March but 0.8 per cent higher than March 2012. Nationwide values the typical UK home at £164,630.

The Land Registry said repossessions had dropped by 26 per cent in December 2012 to 1,193 compared with 1,612 in December 2011. However, London's repossession figures rose 3 per cent over the same period.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: "London was again the top performing region and has seen the greatest recovery in prices of any region. Prices are now higher than their 2007 peak at £306,919."

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: "It's important to realise that the national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outstrip the rest. We expect this situation to continue throughout this year.

"It is also worrying that the number of repossessions in London actually rose, suggesting that the high cost of living in the capital is proving too much for some homeowners. The fact that this is happening even though interest rates are at historic lows is a real concern. It is vital that lenders continue to show forbearance towards borrowers."