Further evidence that the British housing market is recovering from the economic slump has emerged, with one of Britain's biggest building societies reporting that annual price growth is now positive in almost all regions. Nationwide's house-price index for the first quarter of this year suggests real estate prices in Britain increased by 1.6 per cent compared with the same quarter last year. London saw the strongest growth with prices rising 2.5 per cent in the first quarter, and continues to be the best regional performer. Overall, London property prices rose 15.7 per cent over the past year, according to Nationwide. Nationwide says that over the past four years, London has seen a higher level of annual price growth compared with the rest of Britain. It attributes this to the acute shortage of supply of homes in the capital. The building society also says that demand from overseas investors is significant in London's property market with investors benefitting from the weak pound. Property agency King Sturge will host an exhibition at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel today and on Sunday, showcasing a new building development in east London for potential investors. Matchmakers Wharf is located in the London borough of Hackney, to the northwest side of the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford, and potentially is a prime area to benefit from the development going on around the Olympic site. The development, by Telford Homes, sits by the River Lea overlooking the Olympic Park. It takes its name from the Lesney Matchbox toy factory which formerly sat on the site. The development encompasses more than 200 homes including studios and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units. The developer also intends to tap into the East End arts scene and the overall construction includes artists' studios and workspaces that local artists can rent, 'to add a cultural and creative buzz around the development'. Shops, restaurants and cafes are also incorporated creating a new 'community' in Hackney. Units will have views overlooking Hackney Marshes, with those on higher floors also looking over the 2012 Olympic Park and Stratford City, a new town in the Stratford borough, rapidly developing since London won the right to host the next Olympic Games. Design features include under-floor heating, a neutral d?cor and high specification finishes. Kitchens are designed by London company Urban Myth whose designs include silver cherry and cappuccino gloss finishes, with Smeg appliances. Bathrooms are fitted with Roca units. Some units include a balcony or terrace. More than 100 units will be offered for private sale, with others falling into a shared ownership scheme or rented through the capital's Affordable Housing project. Apartments for sale on the open market include the 15-storey Sky apartments, each with a balcony or terrace and the River Walk and Emerald Apartments in a 10-storey block. Each of these blocks include six penthouse apartments with sprawling views. Facilities include a 24-hour concierge, residents' only gym, bicycle storage and optional car parking. The target completion date is in time for the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games. Prices start from GBP150,000 (HK$1.78 million), with rental yields anticipated to be 6 per cent. The tenant profile for these units is expected to be young professionals wanting modern homes within a short commute from the city and Canary Wharf. Sheena Ellwood, sales and marketing director at Telford Homes, says Matchmakers Wharf offers a 'rare combination of style and location, providing a vibrant addition to the Olympic zone. East London is being transformed by the GBP40 billion invested into the Olympic zone, the legacy of which will be new transport infrastructure, jobs and a revitalised region. Buyers looking for a good investment need look no further'. According to King Sturge, the demand for rental property in and around the Olympic area will peak in 2012, 'with long-term capital growth expected to be positive for the many other strong investment factors'. They include waterside location, a traditionally strong residential area, 'excellent' infrastructure and local amenities, and its close proximity to key employment areas such as the new Broadcast and Media Centre within the Olympic Park, which is expected to become a key media centre long after the last medal has been awarded at the Games. Other plans for the area are also in place. New parks and open spaces, transport links and the Chobham Academy education campus, catering to 1,800 students up to the age of 19, are expected to add to the development of the area. During the construction of Matchmakers Wharf, the developer intends to make provisions for the local water company to install moorings along the riverside so local residents can tap into the water network of canals and rivers across Britain. A sustainable factor included in the development is a communal heating plant using renewable fuel to provide energy.