House prices up 0.8 per cent, says Halifax
House prices went up 0.8 per cent in the three months to May from the previous quarter, according to the Halifax house price index.
The monthly house price series, released yesterday, recorded this as the biggest rise over a quarter since August 2011, when house prices rose 0.9 per cent.
Prices in the three months to May were 0.1 per cent lower than in the same period in 2011, although this was the smallest yearly decline in house prices for 17 months.
The average price of a house went up in the first five months of this year by 0.7 per cent from £160,941 in December 2011.
House prices increased in May by 0.5 per cent from the previous month and 2.2 per cent in March, although they fell in April by 2.3 per cent.
The price index said the sharp fall in sales in April was evidence people brought forward their purchases to beat the expiry of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers at the end of March.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: ‘Whilst there has been a modest improvement in the trend for house prices recently, the current average UK price is very similar to the levels both a year ago and at the beginning of this year.
‘We expect this situation to continue with prices likely to still be around today’s levels at the end of 2012 as the ongoing tough economic environment constrains housing demand.’
He added: ‘Recent monthly house sales figures have clearly been affected by the ending of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March. Overall, the trend for sales - like that for prices – appears to be one of broad stability.’