House prices begin to ease

House prices

The surge in British house prices has started to ease, according to new data from Halifax.

The mortgage lender's latest house price survey found that annual prices were up 9.7% in the three months to August - taking the average house to £186,270 - down from a rise of 10.2% recorded in July.

A slowdown was also detected in the quarterly figures. Prices in the three months between June and August rose by 3%, down from 3.5% recorded in last month's survey.

The monthly figures - which are a less reliable indicator than the annual and quarterly figures – showed a rise of just 0.1% in August.

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Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist, said the figures were an indication that the housing market could be starting to cool, with an improvement in housing supply and expected interest rate rise likely to curb demand.

He said: "There are some signs of an improvement in housing supply, both in terms of more second-hand properties coming onto the market and increased numbers of new homes. These trends, if sustained, should help to improve the balance between supply and demand, contributing to an easing in the pace of house price growth."

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: "The three month data also points to a less frenzied market, which is good news for buyers.

"The combination of more property coming up for sale and the prospect of an interest rate rise at some point in the future is applying the brakes to the runaway market."