Halifax: House prices increase by 0.2% in August

Prices in July were marginally lower (-0.5%) than at the end of 2009. The current average house price of £167,953 is 9% above its April 2009 low, but remains 16% below its August 2007 peak.

Housing market activity broadly stable. Bank of England industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchase in the three months to July – a leading indicator of completed house sales – were slightly higher (1%) than in the previous quarter, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The number of approvals has been remarkably stable this year, keeping within a range of 46,000-50,000 per month. In total, the number of approvals during January to July was 9% higher than in the same period last year.

Commenting, Martin Ellis, housing economist, said:

"House prices increased by 0.2% in August. This, together with July’s rise, has reversed much of the modest decline in the three preceding months. Prices are now at a very similar level to that at the end of last year. Activity has also been largely static since the start of the year. These developments suggest that the market is broadly stable with house price inflation having cooled since last year when supply shortages helped to push up prices.

The improved economy, strengthening labour market and low interest rates are all supporting housing demand. We expect that UK house prices will remain static overall in 2010."

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