View more on these topics

Halifax survey reveals house prices increase by 1.2%

The Halifax Housing Index for November shows house prices increased by 1.2% meaning, overall, prices have increased by 4.7% over the past six months.

On an annual basis, house prices are up 4.5%, significantly below the 16.8% annual growth rate recorded in November 2004. However, the number of mortgage approvals to fund house purchase increased for the fourth successive month in October, according to the Bank of England. The number of loans, at 113,000, on a seasonally adjusted basis, was 35% higher than in October 2004.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, says: “The high level of employment and good earnings growth continues to underpin housing demand.

“The slowdown in UK economic growth over the past year and the historically high level of house prices relative to average earnings are, however, expected to curb the recent improvement in housing demand and prevent another sustained period of sharply rising property values.”
Halifax Estate Agents have seen a rise in sales in recent months with sales higher than a year earlier for the first time this year in October.

After a lull in employment growth in the second quarter of 2005, there was a improvement in labour market activity in Q3. The total number in employment rose by 123,000 in Q3 2005 following an increase of only 12,000 growth in Q2. Over the past year, the level of employment increased by 333,000 compared to an increase of 243,000 in the year to September 2004.

Overall economic activity has grown for five consecutive quarters by 0.5% or less, which is below the economy’s long-term historical rate of 0.6% per quarter. On an annual basis, GDP growth was 1.7% in Q3 200×5 compared with the long-term average of 2.5%. Nevertheless, this was still the 53rd consecutive quarter of growth in the UK economy.

The manufacturing sector has been the main source of weakness in the economy with a 0.1% fall in activity over the past year. The service sector, however, continues to grow with an increase in output of 2.3% over the year to Q3 2005. Financial and business services had the strongest rate of growth for the year, at 3.1%. Construction activity was up 2.0% over the year to September 2005.


Shared ownership deal welcomed

Solent Mortgage Services says its had a positive response from brokers to its shared ownership product through Trafalgar Homeloans, SMS’s partnership with Preferred.

What Merrill Lynch thinks Gordon will say on Monday

The UK chancellor will present his Pre-Budget Report on Monday December 5 at 15.30. Merrill Lynch says it is expecting a mildly contradictory to neutral package along with higher borrowing numbers and lower gross domestic product forecasts.UK fiscal policy has been highly expansionary in recent years, resulting in a move from large budget surpluses in […]

GE Life slashes lifetime rate from 6.25% to 5.89%

GE Life has slashed its lifetime mortgage rate from 6.25% to 5.89%.The cut is GE Life’s third since May when it dropped its rate from 7.19% to 6.69%. Since then a number of providers have followed suit, increasing value for customers and taking lifetime mortgage rates even closer to their standard mortgage counterparts.Simon Little, marketing […]

Pre-Budget 2005: Brown cans residential SIPPs

In a massive turnaround, Gordon Brown has removed residential properties from the upcoming changes to pension rules.SIPPs and all other forms of self-directed pensions will be prohibited from obtaining tax advantages when investing in residential property and certain other assets, such as fine wines, from April 6 2006.This action will ensure that tax relief is […]

Insurance - thumbnail

Consumer attitudes to protection

Royal London commissioned Opinium to run our State of the Protection Nation research to find out how people felt about their own protection needs and the industry as a whole. By Ross Jackson, Senior Protection Marketing Manager We surveyed people who had already taken out some kind of protection insurance and those who didn’t have […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up