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House prices rise 1% in November

Halifax’s latest house price index shows prices were rose 1 per cent in November, but year-on-year they were virtually unchanged compared with November 2011 at an average of £160,879.

There have been five monthly rises and six falls in the first 11 months of 2012 and house prices in the three months to November were 0.7% lower than in the previous three months.

On an annual basis, prices in the three months to November were 1.3 per cent lower than in the same period a year earlier. This is the same as the annual rate at the end of 2011, with -1.3 per cent in December 2011.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis, says that both demand and supply pressures in the market have altered little during the course of 2012, and this has been the key reason for the lack of anything other than modest changes in house sales and prices at a national level compared with a year ago.

He says: “Challenging economic conditions have constrained housing demand whilst low interest rates have helped to support affordability and demand.
“There are signs that the Funding for Lending Scheme is helping to reduce mortgage rates and may be contributing to the recent pick-up in mortgage approvals.”

He adds that the Funding for Lending Scheme FLS should help to ease credit constraints, resulting in some improvement in mortgage availability in 2013.

Marsh & Parsons chief executive officer of estate agent Peter Rollings says: “In the absence of any stamp duty concessions for first-time buyers in the Autumn Statement, how many steps forward the national housing market takes in the new year will be dictated by lenders’ ability to target buyers with the smallest deposits with cheaper loans, and by how much they can loosen their tight criteria.”   

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