Hopes that the worst of the recession might be over were bolstered yesterday as house prices rose for the first time in 17 months and banks indicated that the credit crunch may be easing.

Property values rose by 0.9% in March, bringing the value of the average house to £150,946, figures from the Nationwide Building Society showed.

The increase reversed the unrelenting monthly declines that have wiped more than £38,000 off the value of a typical home since the market peaked in October 2007. The annual pace of falls in house prices also slowed to 15.7%, from 17.6% in February.

The Times