House price growth reaches 8-month high

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UK house prices increased at the fastest pace for eight months in November, according to the latest property market data.

The monthly Halifax House Price Index reveals that the average home in the UK increased in value by six per cent in the three months to November 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.

There has also been a quarterly increase in values, with the average house price between September and November being 0.8 per cent higher than in June to August.

A monthly rise was also observed, with prices 0.2 per cent higher over the same period than in August to October, meaning all three metrics that Halifax measures by witnessed increases.

High confidence

Confidence in the UK housing market also remains high, with the majority of homeowners expecting house prices to rise in the coming months.

The Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker, which gauges consumer sentiment on whether house prices will be higher or lower in a year’s time, found that 57 per cent of respondents expect the average UK property to be worth more in 12 months; more than three times the proportion that expects a lower average price (15 per cent).

The survey also revealed that home sales in the UK increased by one per cent between September and October, with the overall number of properties being sold continuing to rise on a monthly basis.

Mortgage approvals increase

The index also tracks the number of mortgage approvals across the country, which is regarded as a leading indicator of completed house sales, and found that this was unchanged in the three months to October compared with the preceding three months.

On a monthly basis, approvals increased for the second successive month, rising by six per cent between September and October, which indicates a likely increase in home sales over the coming months, into 2017.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said that low mortgage rates will continue to support price levels and sales in the coming months.

Industry correlation

The figures correlate with Nationwide Building Society’s monthly House Price Index, which reveals that property values were 4.4 per cent higher in November 2016 than at the same point in 2015.

The steady rise is in line with the growth rate witnessed for the past two years, according to Nationwide, which expects the pattern to continue in the foreseeable future, albeit at a marginally slower pace.

The expectations for house price growth identified in the Halifax survey are also consistent with data compiled by Knight Frank and IHS Markit for the monthly House Price Sentiment Index for November.

It revealed that the majority of households believe that the price of their home increased in November 2016. This marks four consecutive months of growth in sentiment since a dip in July, which was a temporary reflection of uncertainty surrounding the result of the EU Referendum, the effect of which has defied many analysts’ expectations.

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