National: House prices surge again in 2014
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Growing confidence boosts the housing market
House prices surged at their strongest annual rate since 2007 in February amid improving consumer confidence and continued access to cheap mortgage deals, the Halifax has reported.
Values lifted by 7.9% on a year ago, taking the average price across the UK to £179,872 and marking the strongest annual uplift since October 2007.
The pace of the annual rise has strengthened from 7.3% in January.
Prices were 2.4% higher than a month earlier, which the Halifax said is in line with recent average monthly increases.
Stephen Noakes, mortgages director for Halifax, said the improving economy, falling unemployment, growing consumer confidence and continued low interest rates all appear to be boosting housing market demand.
Some experts have raised concerns that Government schemes such as Help to Buy are pushing house prices further out of some people’s reach by fuelling strong demand in the market without the supply of properties for sale keeping up.
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But Mr Noakes said there are factors which should help to keep a lid on house prices.
He said: “Continuing pressures on household finances, as earnings fail to keep pace with consumer price inflation, are expected to remain a constraint on the rate of growth of house prices.
“We are also seeing signs of a revival in housebuilding, which should help bring supply and demand into better balance and curb upward pressure on prices over the medium and longer terms.”