Good news, bad news on the economy

IT WAS a case of good news, bad news on the economy today.House prices rose for the third time in four months during June as the market was boosted by a shortage of properties being put up for sale, figures showed today.

IT WAS a case of good news, bad news on the economy today.

House prices rose for the third time in four months during June as the market was boosted by a shortage of properties being put up for sale, figures showed today.

The average value of a UK home rose by 0.9per cent during the month to stand at �156,442, according to Nationwide.

The annual rate at which house prices are declining also fell for the fourth month in a row, dropping to 9.3pc - the first time for a year that the measure has been in single digits.

However other figures showed that the recession-blighted UK economy shrank at its fastest rate for more than 50 years in the first three months of 2009.

Output fell by 2.4pc in the first quarter of the year - much worse than the 1.9pc drop previously estimated - the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

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The quarterly decline equals a 2.4pc slump seen in 1974 and is the worst since a 2.6pc fall seen in 1958.

The figures also showed the current recession began earlier than expected, with a 0.1pc decline seen between April and June last year compared with previous estimates of zero growth.

The Nationwide said that while the rises seen since March were likely to be more than just "statistical noise", they were taking place against a backdrop of very low activity.

The number of mortgages being approved for house purchase is still 55pc below its long-term average despite recent rises, and at a level which is usually associated with falling prices.

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