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House prices have strongest quarter in three years

Halifax optimistic after quarterly house price boost


by Michelle McGagh on Feb 06, 2013 at 12:39

House prices have strongest quarter in three years

The house price rally seen in December has carried on into the new year as the strongest quarterly rise is recorded in three years.

The Halifax House Price Index shows house prices in the three months to the end of January were 1.9% higher than in the previous three months, the strongest quarterly change in three years. Looking at the annual change, house prices were up 1.3% on a year ago, the first annual price rise for 27 months.

However, looking at January in isolation house prices actually fell 0.2% after successive rises in November and December. The average house in the UK is now worth £162,932.

Despite the slight blip in January prices, Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis is still optimistic about house prices in 2013.

This optimism is based on strong data at the end of 2012. Home sales increased 5% in 2012 to 932,000, the highest annual total since 2007’s 1,619,000 figure. Sales in the last three months of 2012 were 4% higher than the preceding quarter.

These sales reflect improvements in mortgage approval numbers. The number of mortgages approved to purchase homes rose for the fifth successive months in December and there was a 19% increase in approvals over the last five months of 2012.

The government’s Funding for Lending scheme, through which it has made £80 billion available to lenders to loan out, has boosted the number of mortgage approvals since it was launched in August.

Ellis said: ‘The signs of improvement in the housing market towards the end of last year continued in January.

‘Market activity has also improved with sales in 2012 at their highest for five years. Rising mortgage approval numbers point to further increase in home sales in the coming months. The Funding for Lending scheme has helped lenders to lower interest rates and improve availability in the past few months. This is likely to have been a factor contributing to the pick-up in both home sales and prices.

‘The outlook for the UK economy and house prices, however, is more unclear than usual. Subdued economic growth and pressures on household finances are expected to constrain housing demand. Overall, we expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013.’

7 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Dislexic Landlord

Feb 06, 2013 at 15:17

Trust the Halifax to come out with this rubbish

House prices are still falling and just watch what happens when interest rates rise

This crash has a long way to go yet

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Mike the red

Feb 06, 2013 at 16:52

Is this a national figure or just the South East. The market is as flat as a pancake where I live in North East Wales. My very nice house has been on the market since September with only one expresion of (dis)interest. I agree with Dyslexic Landlord, there is a long way to fall. Just hope I can sell before then.

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Feb 06, 2013 at 16:56

Plenty of houses I know of (in yorkshire) that have been on sale for several years now. I drive past one every day which I swear has been for sale for 4 years or so. It has changed estate agents a few times but obviously had no joy selling it yet.

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shaon mukherjee

Feb 06, 2013 at 17:39

Just London I reckon. Here in London prices are creeping up and releasing equity via a remortgage is possible if you have recent comparable date.

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Anthony O' Grady

Feb 06, 2013 at 18:15

If it is the case that prices are rising again, it can only be because the market is being juiced by the Govt. and the recent crisis was caused by......

Utter madness!

And why the continuing obsession with bloody house prices. Time we acquired a proper economy like Germany's and stopped relying on borrowing and consumption. Lessons never learned!

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Mr Robert

Feb 06, 2013 at 18:40

In the 1990 the banks were making so much money out of mortgages they sat down and thought how we can make MORE! Well if we pump up the price of houses with easy money (carefully re circulated time and time again) we will get everyone paying TWICE or THREE times MORE for EACH HOUSE with a new mortgage and we will get TWICE or THREE times MORE INTEREST from that very same house EASY ! And the Muppets will think they are the ones making money out of increasing house prices .What a wheeze and they are still trying to pedal the same program even when it is very clear that ploy is dead in the water for some considerable time.

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Dislexic Landlord

Feb 07, 2013 at 07:22

FAO M Robert

you are 100% right and I totaly agree

The Bigest con is buying your home as an investment in genaral houses cost you money

You pay for it out of taxed income you repair and Insure it out taxed income and you pay the Mortgage Out of Taxed income

In old age property can be taken off you to pay for old age care so you lose again

If you buy a property to live in and lose your job you lose it agin if you dont pay the mortgage

If you rent and lose your job the rent is paid by the goverment

I invest in property not because of capital growth but because of income

I simply look at how much money a large deposit can yeild me in a Bank or shares if its less than property I buy property if not I buy shares with dividends

THe mugs here are the ones on middle income who mortgage to the hilt and hope for capital growth and hope that growth will give them a pension when they end there working lives

The old system is dead in the water as you have said

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