Housing market ‘picking up’

House market picking up3

The housing market in the UK is picking up after a period of slow growth, according to the latest Halifax report.

Figures from Halifax indicated property prices in the three months to August are 2.6 per cent higher than they were in the same period in 2016, reflecting a more buoyant housing market. The lender also reported house prices in the third quarter of the year were 0.1 per cent higher than in the second quarter.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax Community Bank, said: “The annual rate of growth increased from 2.1 per cent in July to 2.6 per cent in August with the average house price now £222,293, which is just above the previous high of December 2016 (£222,190).

“House prices should continue to be supported by low mortgage rates and a continuing shortage of properties for sale over the coming months.”

Positive indicators

The Halifax House Price Index also indicated other positive aspects of the property market in the UK. It reported a rise in the volume of mortgage approvals for house purchases. The number of approvals increased significantly between June and July, hitting 68,700.

The figure is the same level as in January and the increase has almost reversed the fall in mortgage approvals so far in 2017, indicating the buoyancy looks set to continue.

Further positivity comes in the shape of the number of house sales across the UK, which once again were above the 100,000 mark between June and July, hitting 104,760, the highest monthly level since March 2016 and marking the seventh month in succession that sales have exceeded 100,000.

Increase in new homes being built

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) monthly report indicated that one of the elements reducing the growth of the housing market is a shortage of homes for sale. The report found new instructions for home sales fell for the 17th consecutive month in July.

Despite the concern around homes entering the market, there has been some positive news from the housebuilding sector, which is reporting the highest levels of new builds in nine years.

Figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that 164,960 new homes were started in the year to June 2017, a 13 per cent rise on the previous year, indicating housing stock available to buyers looks set to grow to support the buoyant housing market. A total of 153,000 new homes were finished in the same period, 11 per cent up on the year before.

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