House prices bounce back in January

 
House prices bounce back in January

UK house prices saw a quarterly rise of 1.9 per cent in January to reach an average of £193,130, pointing to a pick-up in the property market after a relatively quiet period.

The latest Halifax House Price Index shows that January’s increase was the first such quarterly rise in property prices in six months. Prices also rose by two per cent on December 2014 and 8.5 per cent year-on-year, compared with the equivalent rate of 7.8 per cent in December.

Despite this, the quarterly rise was still below that recorded in the June to September quarter of 2014, while the annual increase didn’t reach the heights of the 10.4 per cent rise registered in July last year. However, the two per cent monthly increase was the biggest jump in January prices since 2009.

Other figures from the index show a 15 per cent rise in property sales in 2014, although transactions peaked early on the year before slowing over the following months. Mortgage approvals also increased by two per cent between November and December 2014 following five months of declines.

“These improvements may indicate that the recent declines in mortgage rates, the reform of stamp duty and the first increases in real earnings for several years are providing a modest boost to the market,” said Martin Ellis, housing economist for Halifax.

“It is, however, too early to draw any firm conclusions.”

He added that while demand for property will continue to be supported by low mortgage rates, a growing economy and lower energy bills and inflation, house price growth is expected to slow over the next few months, recording rates of three to five per cent compared with 2014’s eight per cent.

Consumers don’t appear to be worried by the lower growth in house prices just yet. Recent research by Zoopla showed that nearly nine in ten homeowners think their home will increase in value before the summer, with property owners in London expecting a rise of nine per cent.