11222017

UK house prices continue to rise strongly, says Halifax

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House prices across the UK are rising strongly and will continue to do so in the months ahead, the Halifax has reported.

In the year to October, prices rose by 4.5%, up from 4% in September and the fastest rise since February.

It brings the average price of a UK house to a new record high of £225,826.

Cheap mortgages and high employment rates were likely to continue to support house prices over the coming months, the Halifax said.

It said that last week’s rise in base rates, which will affect more than four million people on variable rate mortgages, was unlikely to dampen the market.

“We do not anticipate the base rate rise will be a barrier to buying a house,” said Russell Galley, the managing director of Halifax Community Bank.

Volatility

However, some economists cast doubt on the Halifax data.

Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the Halifax measure was out of line with other indicators.

Using a quarterly comparison, prices rose by 2.3%, according to the Halifax.

On the same basis he said Nationwide had reported growth of just 0.8% in October, while Rightmove’s online asking price index rose by just 0.2%.

“The Halifax data are particularly volatile, so we’re inclined to place more weight on the Nationwide and Rightmove measures,” he said.

Public confidence in rising house prices has also fallen to its lowest level since December 2012, according to the Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker.

Some 50% of those questioned in the survey believe house prices will rise over the next 12 months, the lowest level since 2013.

By contrast, 20% believe that house prices will fall – the highest proportion for five years.


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