The UK's housing market showed continuous strength in August as property prices increased for the se...
The UK's housing market showed continuous strength in August as property prices increased for the second month in a row, the latest Halifax survey reveals.
House prices rose by 1.3% last month, the same rate as in July.
Prices have increased at an average monthly rate of 1.1% over the past three months - ahead of the 0.6% monthly average experienced during the past 20 years - the average house now costs £133,908.
Halifax believes that low unemployment, low interest rates and the end of the Iraqi conflict have boosted people's confidenc. Its chief economist, Martin Ellis, adds that "housing demands remains underpinned by a highly favourable combination of factors".
This is backed up by Bank of England figures out this week, showing that the number of mortgage loans approved leapt 15% to an average of 110,000 in June and July from an average of 96,000 between February to May.
Adding to that, estate agents have also seen an improvement in confidence in the market with reports of more buyer inquiries, greater competition for properties and signs that more buy-to-let investors are coming back into the market, Halifax says.
But while property prices have continued to grow, Halifax' calculation of annual house price inflation dropped yet a fraction to 19.1%, hitting its lowest level since August last year.
Lack of affordability among first-time buyers is largely to blame, Halifax says.
This will even out the pace of growth over the next year, says Ellis. He adds that he expects "the rate of house price growth to slow gradually over the remainder of 2003 and into 2004".
"Accordingly, we are likely to see a more even pace of house price growth across the regions in 2004 than we have seen in recent years," Ellis adds.
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From 1 March