House prices rise in final quarter of 2012

The Momentum UK Team 07 January 2013

House prices rose by 1.3% in the final month of 2012, and 0.6% in the last quarter figures released by Halifax reveal, though the lender recorded an overall house price drop of 0.3% across the year.

Halifax recorded a total of six monthly increases and six monthly declines across the whole of 2012, with the average house price now at £163,845.

The lender said that it expected broad stability for the housing market in 2013, but that the picture was "more unclear than usual" due in large part to the continuingly difficult economy.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax said:

"Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012.

"We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin."

Activity in the housing market also rose marginally in the third quarter of 2012, with figures from HMRC suggesting a rise in sales from 75,000 in July to 80,000, 2% higher than in the same period in 2011.

Ellis said:

"There was evidence of a firming in the housing market in the final few months of 2012. Prices in the three months from October to December were 0.6% higher than in the preceding three months. This was the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend for seven months."

The Bank of England Funding for Lending scheme may be partly responsible for the slight pick up in the housing market offering "cheap" funding to mortgage providers in order to encourage lending to consumers.