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08 Wednesday May 2013

House prices rise in April, says Halifax Posted by:

House prices rose by 1.1 per cent in April, according to the Halifax, following rises of 0.4 per cent in March and 0.5 per cent in February. This contributed to a year-on-year price increase of 2 per cent.

Bien Media client, London agency VanHan, commented on the figures: Giles Hannah, managing director of VanHan, said: “This is a positive set of data and shows the UK market is picking up despite the difficult global economic climate and uncertainty in European markets. There are still significant regional differences within the UK, however, with prices in prime central London still increasing at a faster rate compared to the UK average. The UK as a whole has seen prices rise by 2% over the past 12 months compared with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which has seen some properties rise by 2% each month over the same period. Further, there are no signs of a slowdown, with growth fuelled by wealthy UK, Russian and Asia buyers and a short supply of property.

‘The market in London tends to be highly active for the months of May and June before families take their summer holidays and this will contribute to the supply of property and cause price  rises. In the UK though people are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach and staying put until they can see more signs of an improving economy and better job prospects. This means slower house-price growth as the market is not so active. There is some positive news coming out of the US, however, with job prospects and financial markets improving and manufacturing slowly picking up, which has a positive effect for the UK economy and in turn our house prices.

‘Today sees the Queen’s speech where policies and legislation are set out for the next parliamentary term. Property professionals expect that the housing market will be boosted by a more positive economic outlook and new government policies to stimulate the property market which once in place will see further growth in prime central London house prices over the next five years.’

And Bien Media client, Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: ‘It is surprising that official figures from the Halifax show that mortgage approvals eased slightly in the first quarter of 2013 because that is absolutely not what we are seeing ‘on the ground’. Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn, sending out the positive message that the situation is finally improving. It may take a while for this to feed through into the official numbers but the signs are encouraging: more people feel they can get a mortgage as Funding for Lending pushes down the cost of funding.

‘As the scheme will now be extended until January 2015, we expect this positivity to continue, with more attractive rates available across the loan-to-value spectrum. This will make it increasingly easy for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, which is encouraging for the health of the market as a whole.’