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House prices still increasing but at a slower rate

House price rises are continuing to ease, says Halifax&#39s monthly house price index, with a 1 per cent rise in November.

This is down from October&#39s increase of 1.4 per cent and November 2002&#39s increase of 1.9 per cent. Halifax says annual house price inflation now stands at 14.1 per cent, down from 16.7 per cent the previous month but still significantly above the long-term average of 8 per cent.

The index also reveals that the average homeowner is paying 13.6 per cent of their gross income in mortgage payments, significantly less than the 36 per cent peak reached in 1990 and the 20-year average of 21 per cent.

Halifax points out that for mortgage payments to rise again to equal the long-term average, the base rate would have to increase to 6.25 per cent, and to equal the peak of 36 per cent it would have to rise to 10 per cent.

Chief economist Martin Ellis says: “The gradual easing in house price growth reflects a market returning to average price rises after two years of exceptional increases.”


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