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House prices up by 7.5% in 2013 – Halifax

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The average UK house price was 7.5% higher at the end of 2013 against the previous year, according to Halifax.

The survey of property prices found a typical house purchased in the last three months of 2013 cost £173,467. This was 7.5% up on the final quarter of 2012 and 1.9% higher than the period between July and September.

Month-on-month house prices fell by 0.6% in December although Halifax said this was largely down to volatility in the data.

The lender predicts house prices will increase by between 4% and 8% in the coming year, broadly similar to the rise over the past 12 months.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said rising house prices would encourage more homeowners to move this year.

“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.

“Nonetheless, continuing pressures on household finances, as earnings again fail to keep pace with consumer price inflation, are expected to constrain demand. 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. Indeed, 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.”

Matthew Turner, director of the UK buying agents, Astute Property Search, said: “More people are buying and more people are selling than have done for a number of years.

“The annual UK growth figure, shaped by London and the South East, does not accurately reflect many regional performances.

“Not all areas of the UK are experiencing the same growth as the South East. In many areas the market is still stuttering and the headline numbers make that easy to forget.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “2013 was a cracking 12 months for the housing market, which few had accurately forecast at the start of the year and 2014 has continued in the same vein. Mortgage brokers and estate agents have got off to an incredibly busy start as many buyers view this as the year when they will finally get on the housing ladder, or move up it.”

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