UK house prices continue to rise

2014-02-06 11:24:00 GMT2014-02-06 19:24:00(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Boosted by strong demand for properties, British house prices continued to rise in January, Halifax, the country's largest mortgage lender, said Wednesday.

According to Halifax's monthly survey report on house prices, house prices in Britain jumped 7.3 percent in the 12 months to January compared with that of the previous 12 months. However the figure showed a slight slowdown from the 7.5 percent annual growth in 2013.

House prices was up 1.9 percent in the three months to January, while the monthly growth was 1.1 percent in the first month of this year, compared with 0.5 percent fall in December last year, said Halifax, now a part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

The average price in Britain stood at 175,546 British pounds (286,017 U.S.dollars) in January, higher than the previous month's 173,677 pounds (283,024 dollars).

"With the supply of properties being slow to respond to more buoyant market conditions, stronger demand has resulted in continued upward pressure on house prices," said Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax.

He attributed the increasing demand to the country's current low interest rates and higher consumer confidence underpinned by signs that the economy is recovering and unemployment falling faster than expected.

"Official schemes, such as Help to Buy, also appear to have boosted housing demand. However, continuing pressures on household finances, as earnings fail to keep pace with consumer price inflation, are expected to remain a constraint on the rate of growth of house prices," Ellis said.

The survey also found that activity is on an upward trend with housing transactions in 2013 exceeding one million for the first time since 2007.

Figures from HM Revenue and Customs showed that home sales rose for the ninth successive month in December last year to 103,040, an increase of 30 percent year on year. The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases, a leading indicator of completed house sales, increased 9 percent in the three months to December.

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