UK house prices keep on booming

During March, property prices jumped by 1.9%, according to the society, more than many analysts had expected. Nationwide said its figures indicated that the underlying trend was for a gentle moderation in price growth. "The key (factor) driving the slowdown this year will be people's pay and bonuses and we know they've come off a bit," said Alex Bannister, Nationwide's group economist.

Bannister said house prices were expected to grow by around 0.5% a month in the second half of this year, against an average of 1% a month in the first three months of 2003. "There's a lot of uncertainty around at the moment. We're seeing a lot of confidence measures decline, people are a little bit jittery, a little bit uncertain about the future."

Nationwide said it was sticking with its forecast of 10% house-price growth for 2003 as a whole.