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House prices rocked but pace of sales set to slow

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House prices have continued to rocket upwards over the last few months, the latest findings from Halifax confirm.

The mortgage lender put the average price of a home at £253k at the end of November. This is almost £3,000 up on October, and in this month alone, more than would be saved on a house move by taking advantage of the current stamp duty holiday.

The 1.2 per cent monthly increase compares with 3.8 per cent over the last three months, and 7.6 per cent over the last year – the strongest growth recorded by Halifax since June 2016.

‘At just over £253k, the average property price has risen by more than £15,000 since June’, noted Halifax managing director Russell Galley. ‘In percentage terms that equates to 6.5 per cent, the strongest five-monthly gain since 2004.

‘With mortgage approvals at a 13-year high, the current market continues to be shaped by a desire for more space, the move from urban to rural locations and indications of a trend for more home working in the future.

‘As the March deadline for the stamp duty holiday approaches, properties sold to home-movers recorded a much higher rate of annual house price inflation (7.9 per cent) than first-time buyers (5.8 per cent).

‘The housing market has been much more resilient than many predicted at the outset of the pandemic, and indeed many households remain confident about further price growth next year. However, the economic environment continues to look challenging. With unemployment predicted to peak around the middle of next year, and the UK’s economy not expected to fully recover the ground lost over 2020 for a number of years, a slowdown in housing market activity is likely over the next 12 months’.