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House prices continue rise, but market is ‘cooling’

House prices rose a further 1 per cent last month, the eleventh in a row to register an increase, Halifax has reported.

Despite the rise, it is the second month in a row that the monthly increase has fallen from its March peak, according to the mortgage lender. The result is that the annual rate of house price inflation is also down from its February peak of 11.2 per cent, hitting a ‘mere’ 10.5 per cent in May.

‘The average cost to buy a home in the UK is now £289,099, hitting yet another record high’, said Halifax managing director Russell Galley. ‘Despite the very real cost of living pressures some people are experiencing, the imbalance between supply and demand for properties remains the primary reason driving the continued climb in house prices.

‘For house hunters, the extent of the impact of property price inflation continues to be linked to the type of home they are looking to buy. Compared to May last year, you’d need around £10,000 more to buy a flat, but an additional £50,000 for a detached home.

‘However, the housing market has begun to show signs of cooling. Mortgage activity has started to come down and, coupled with the inflationary pressures currently exerted on household budgets, it’s likely activity will start to slow’. Northern Ireland topped the regional house price growth table in May with a 15.2 per cent average annual rate of increase. The South West of England also recorded a strong rate of annual growth at 14.5 per cent. In Wales, the increase was 13.7 per cent but in Scotland ‘only’ 8.3 per cent.

The Halifax results follow closely on the latest Nationwide figures which put the average May house price increase at 0.9 per cent and the annual rate of increase at 11.2 per cent, down from 12.1 per cent in April.