UK house price growth hits 10-month high in April -Nationwide

By Andy Bruce

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - British house prices rose in April at the fastest monthly pace since last June, a survey from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Wednesday, in another sign the housing market might be starting to regain momentum.

Nationwide said house prices rose 1.0 percent in April, topping all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and compared with growth of 0.1 percent in March.

On an annual basis, house prices rose 5.2 percent, speeding up from 5.1 percent a month earlier -- the first increase in annual house price growth in seven months and comfortably beating expectations for a rise of 4.1 percent.

"Healthy labour market conditions and continued low mortgage rates should help underpin housing demand in the quarters ahead," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

Gardner said levels of activity in the housing market were still fairly subdued overall, despite surging house price growth in April.

He said it was possible uncertainty ahead of next Thursday's national election, which opinion polls show is too close to call, might be weighing on activity, with mortgage approvals around 20 percent down from their level in early 2014.

British regulators tightened rules for mortgage lending last year in a bid to cool price growth which reached nearly 12 percent in annual terms in the middle of last year.

Still, Bank of England data has shown a steady increase in the number of mortgage approvals in recent months, suggesting Britain's housing market upturn will regain strength this year. (Editing by William Schomberg and Hugh Lawson)

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