MortgagesDec 8 2015

House prices continue to climb in fourth quarter: Halifax

Search supported by
House prices continue to climb in fourth quarter: Halifax

House prices during September to November were 1.4 per cent higher than in the preceding three months and up 9 per cent on the same three months a year earlier, according to Halifax.

The lender’s house price index showed a monthly decline of 0.2 per cent to an average price of £204,552 last month.

This followed last month’s 1 per cent increase, continuing the monthly volatility seen since the summer.

Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist, said solid economic growth, rising real earnings and falls in already very low mortgage rates have combined to stimulate housing demand this year.

“The increasingly acute imbalance between supply and demand is causing prices to rise at a robust pace. A situation that is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short-term.”

Mortgage approvals remain on an upward trend, increasing by 1 per cent between September and October and 17 per cent higher than in October 2014.

Approvals in the three months to October were 4 per cent higher than in the preceding three months, according to the Bank of England’s seasonally-adjusted figures.

Supply also dropped to a new record low, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reporting that new instructions by home sellers fell in October for the ninth successive month.

Jeremy Leaf, former RICS chairman and now north London estate agent, commented that there is evidence of easing house-price growth, but this would be expected at this time of year.

“Any slowdown in the market may be a short-term blip anyway, as investors are already looking at what will be coming to market in the spring, in order so that they can complete by April to avoid the higher stamp duty take.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added that a number of lenders have hiked mortgage rates in the past few days, perhaps with an eye to slowing down business over the festive period.

“However, this should be a short-term trend and we still expect them to price aggressively in the new year in order to get off to a fast start. There may well be some January sales on the mortgage front for borrowers to take advantage of, boosting activity into the spring.”