House prices pick up in December

According to the latest Halifax House Price Index, house prices increased 1.3% from November to December, although they remained -0.3% on prices in December 2011.

This leaves the average house price at £163,845 – a figure which has altered little over 2012, with six monthly rises and six decreases during 2012.

Housing activity has picked up a little – home sales have improved modestly in recent months, from 75,000 in July to 80,000 in November and sales in the three months to November 2% higher than in the same period last year.

More people expect house prices to rise than fall over the coming twelve months, according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker. Nearly four in ten (38%) respondents predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, whilst less than a fifth of respondents (18%) forecast a decline in prices.

The report from Halifax suggested there would be “broad stability” in house prices nationally in 2013, adding that “the outlook for the UK economy and house prices, however, remains more unclear than usual”.

Commenting, Martin Ellis, housing economist, said:

“There was evidence of a firming in the housing market in the final few months of 2012. Prices in the three months from October to December were 0.6% higher than in the preceding three months. This was the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend for seven months.

“Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012. On an annual basis, prices in the final quarter of 2012 were marginally lower than in the last three months of 2011.

“We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin.”

Posted on January 7, 2013 by Peter Marriott, in: Industry posts

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