Annual house prices up 1.9%

House and coins

House prices have inched higher over the past month, the past three months and the past year, according to the Halifax house price index.

The average UK property price now stands at £163,600, an increase of 0.5% from January.

Meanwhile, in the three months between December to February, prices were 1.9% higher than in the previous quarter - the third rise in a row for three-monthly prices.  

It was also the same 1.9% rise compared to the same period a year earlier. This was the second successive rise in annual prices and the biggest increase since September 2010 (2.6%).  
The number of home sales also increased slightly from 82,280 in December 2012 to 82,320 in January 2013, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs.

However, mortgage approvals fell by 2% between December and January, according to the Bank of England – although the number was a little higher than the average of the previous six months.

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Continued improvement

Commenting on the index, Halifax’s housing economist Martin Ellis, said: "The housing market continued to provide evidence of improvement in February.

"House sales also continue on a modest upward trend. This increase in both house prices and activity in recent months is consistent with evidence of some improvement in market conditions. The more than half a million increase in the number of people in employment over the past year is likely to have been a factor supporting housing demand.
"We expect to see a national increase in house prices over the course of 2013. Weak income growth and continuing below-trend economic growth, however, are likely to remain significant constraints on housing demand," he added.