Halifax says recovery and Help to Buy mean house prices are roaring ahead of predictions – despite 0.6% December drop. House prices went up 7.5% over 2013 – despite a dip in December, according to the country’s biggest lender.
Halifax says recovery and Help to Buy mean house prices are roaring ahead of predictions – despite 0.6% December drop.
House prices went up 7.5% over 2013 – despite a dip in December, according to the country’s biggest lender.
The bank, which bases it monthly index on mortgages it has agreed, had predicted movement of -2% to 2% over the course of 2013, but a stronger than anticipated recovery in the wider economy, combined with government stimulus including the Help to Buy scheme, led to stronger growth.
Halifax reported a 0.6% drop in prices during December, taking the average UK house price to £173,467. However, it said monthly figures could be volatile, and the three-month data was a more reliable indicator of the underlying trend. This showed growth of 1.9%.
Its annual growth figure is based on a comparison of quarterly year-on-year comparisons, and a straight comparison of prices in December 2012 and December 2013 showed a 5% increase.
Halifax’s housing economist, Martin Ellis, said: “Mounting signs that the economic recovery is becoming firmly established, together with a predicted decline in unemployment, should further boost consumer confidence over the coming months.
“This will increase the likelihood that more people will consider buying a property in 2014, therefore supporting housing demand.”
The bank has predicted growth of between 4% and 8% for 2014, and Ellis said continuing pressure on household finances and an increase in the number of properties coming on to the market could dampen prices.
“The recent strengthening in house prices is increasing the amount of equity that many homeowners have in their home. This will potentially encourage and enable more owners to put their property on the market for sale over the coming year, therefore boosting supply,” he said.
“Our consumer confidence research shows that there has been a significant improvement in sentiment towards selling in recent months. These factors should help to curb the upward pressure on prices.”
On Friday, Nationwide building society reported an 8.4% rise in prices in 2013, an increase of £40 a day.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said that although surprising, the December drop reported by Halifax “does not fundamentally change the story of a markedly improving housing market and appreciably firming prices”.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said 2014 had already been a busy year for estate agents and brokers.
“Rising property prices are fuelling fears among some buyers that if they don’t act now, they will be priced out further, while falling unemployment has also raised concerns that interest rates will rise sooner rather than later,” he said.
“There is no need to panic. It is still highly unlikely that interest rates will rise in 2014, despite unemployment falling faster than predicted and the economy recovering at a quicker rate. We are still very much in recovery mode and it’s unlikely that the Bank of England will risk raising interest rates too soon.”