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House prices edge up in February, says Halifax

UK house prices rose 0.1 per cent in February, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

The small rise follows a 1.1 per cent drop in January. The average UK house is now worth £219,949, according to Halifax.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says: “House prices in the three months to February were 1.7 per cent higher than in the previous quarter; down from 2.3 per cent in January.

“The annual rate of growth fell to 5.1 per cent from January’s 5.7 per cent, the lowest since July 2013.

“Housing demand is being supported by an economy that continues to perform well with employment still expanding. Meanwhile, the supply of both new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low.  This combination is pushing up prices.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “These figures are interesting as they slightly conflict with the Nationwide survey from a few days ago, although both show a housing market which is broadly stable with prices continuing to be supported by a lack of supply and low interest rates. This reflects what we are finding on the ground.

“‘Looking forward, activity does seem to have picked up a little since the slow start to the year and we hope the Chancellor doesn’t do anything to stop the market in its tracks tomorrow and in particular supports first-time buyer activity.”

 Halifax adds that mortgage affordability is better than a decade ago. The lender says the proportion of disposable earnings devoted to mortgage payments has improved by 18 per cent since  2007.

Typical mortgage payments for new borrowers (both first-time buyers and homemovers) at the historic average LTV ratio stood at 30 per cent of earnings in Q4 2016 Quarter 4  compared to the peak of 48 per cent in Q3 2007.

SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris says: “Mortgages may be more affordable than a decade ago, according to the Halifax, but there are still borrowers struggling to get funding, such as older borrowers or the self-employed, because they don’t meet lenders’ tougher criteria.

“There may be a solution out there but advice is more important than ever. The good news is that lenders are keen to lend and continue to offer competitive deals to attract borrowers.”

Source:  Mortgage Strategy

Sam: 7th Mar 2017 10:38:00

 

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