Daily Express: House prices on rise again
Thu 07 Feb 2013
House prices on rise again
Fastest growth for three years fuels recovery
House prices are booming in Britain again with the fastest growth for three years.
The figures have been hailed by industry experts as a sign that the economy is emerging from the doldrums.
The Halifax, Britains biggest mortgage lender, believes the rise shows that Government efforts to boost lending are a success.
The cost of a typical home stood at 162,932 last month up 3,619 or 1.9 per cent from October.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of property search consultants Garrington, said: What began as a slight thaw is beginning to feel like the first flickers of warmth. Quarterly growth was up for the second time in a row while year-on-year growth has returned to positive territory.
Clearly one swallow does not a summer make, but the property market is going into 2013 with a spring in its step.
Peter Rollings, chief executive of estate agent Marsh & Parsons, said: There seems to be increased optimism for prospective buyers in 2013.
Credit conditions look to be easing as the impact of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) hits home. Most encouraging of all is that it is starting to push up first time buyer numbers. If this continues, we should see an increasing number of buyers enter the market and drive national house price growth from the bottom up. The latest Halifax analysis shows values in the three months to January were 1.9 per cent higher than the previous quarter and are 1.3 per cent higher than a year ago the first annual increase in two and a quarter years.
On a month-on-month basis, prices edged down by 0.2 per cent in January following rises in the previous two months.
But the Halifax said quarterly figures tend to give the clearest indication of what is happening as they smooth out month-on-month volatility.
Halifax said Government efforts to boost lending, including the 80billion FLS launched last August, have fuelled a pick-up in sales and house prices.
It also pointed to recent increases in mortgage approvals reported by the Bank of England.
Mortgage availability has also increased and lenders have been slashing their rates since the introduction of the FLS, which gives lenders access to cheap finance.
Halifax highlighted recent HM Revenue and Customs figures which showed that UK house sales increased last year to the highest levels since 2007. The figures also showed that sales rose four per cent in the last three months of 2012 compared to the previous quarter.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: Overall, we expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013.
But the outlook for the economy and house prices is more unclear than usual. Subdued economic growth and pressures on household finances are expected to constrain housing demand.