UK: Halifax reports house price rise
- Credit: PA
Further signs of a pick-up in the property market emerged today as the Halifax reported a 1.1% rise in house prices last month.
The improvement to an average £166,094 follows gains of 0.4% and 0.5% in March and February respectively and means prices over the last three months are 2% higher than the same period a year earlier.
The pick-up comes amid various Government-backed schemes to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder and as the relatively low level of mortgage payments in relation to income continues to provide support.
However, the Halifax said market activity remains subdued by historical standards.
Its housing economist Martin Ellis said: “Weak income growth and continuing below-trend economic growth are likely to remain significant constraints on housing demand during the remainder of 2013.”
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Mortgage availability has increased sharply since the Government launched its Funding for Lending scheme last August, which gives lenders access to cheap finance to help borrowers.
Chancellor George Osborne’s new Help to Buy scheme - a £5.4 billion package of loans and guarantees - lends buyers up to 20% of the value of a new-build home, interest-free for five years.
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Mortgage guarantees also aim to support another £130 billion of high loan-to-value mortgages by shifting the risk of default away from lenders on to the state.
The Halifax figures contrast with a 0.1% dip in prices in April reported by the Nationwide last week.
Today’s update shows that prices in the three months to April were 1.3% higher than in the preceding three months, marking the fifth consecutive increase on this measure.