Halifax expects housing market to hold steady

Halifax expects housing market to hold steady

The Halifax reported a 0.9 per cent fall in house prices in November, compared with the previous month, and it expects the housing market to remain steady over the winter.

November’s fall in house prices came despite a 3 per cent increase in the number of mortgages approved during the month to 52,700, according to the Bank of England’s figures.

Data taken from the Halifax’s own mortgage approvals showed that prices fell 1.0 per cent in the three months to November, compared with the same period a year ago.

The average house price is now £161,731, according to the data.

Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist, said: “Overall, house prices have remained remarkably stable in 2011 despite the difficult and deteriorating economic climate and the substantial pressure on households’ finances”.

During 2011 there were five months when prices increased, five months when they fell and one month when there was no change, according to the Halifax’s data.

Despite the Halifax’s prediction that house prices will remain stable over winter, economists have warned that a worsening of the economic climate could lead to an accelerated downturn in the housing market.

However, consumers seems to be undeterred by predictions of economic gloom with 63 per cent of prospective home movers expecting house prices to either remain the same or increase according to Rightmove’s Consumer Price Forecast.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “The public’s belief in the value of bricks and mortar seems to defy the deteriorating economic situation.

“This is a clear message that the majority of consumers view the property asset class to be as ‘safe as houses’ in these times of economic uncertainty.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility recently predicted that the housing market will start to grow quickly again in 2013.

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