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House prices still strong, says Halifax

The average UK house price increased by 1.7 per cent in February to £125,558 from £123,422 in January, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

Halifax says this is a sign that the market remains strong, with February&#39s increase representing a 23 per cent jump from £101,708 in February 2002.

The bank says it is still a sellers&#39 market, with the stock of properties for sale on estate agents&#39 books remaining low, maintaining an upward pressure on house prices.

Halifax believes this is more evident in the North while in the South the market is starting to shift in favour of buyers as more properties become available.

According to the bank, demand factors, including low interest rates, high employment and good affordability, are highly supportive of the housing market.

It says the recent cut in interest rates is helping to keep mortgage repayments for a new borrower at very low levels in proportion to income. Repayments represent 15 per cent of the gross earnings for a typical first-time buyer.

Chief economist Martin Ellis says: “February&#39s 1.7 per cent rise in prices confirms that the housing market is strong, with little sign that the uncertainty over developments in the Gulf is adversely affecting the behaviour of homebuyers. We expect the market to remain strong.”


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