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Annual house price growth at lowest rate since July 2013

The latest house price index from Halifax reports that annual house price growth dipped during February.

The bank recorded annual house price growth at 5.1% last month, down from 5.7% in January.

Halifax's figures present a contrast to the latest Nationwide index - released last week - which shows annual growth edging up by 0.2% to 4.5% in February.

The annual rate of growth recorded in February is the lowest since July 2013 (4.6%) and almost half the 10% recorded last March.

Average prices did reflect a quarterly increase, however, up by 1.7% in the three months to February when compared with the previous quarter.

Monthly house price growth stabilised at 0.1% in February - this is after Halifax reported a 1.1% decline in the first month of the year.

“Housing demand is being supported by an economy that continues to perform well with employment still expanding," says Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.

"Meanwhile, the supply of both new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low. This combination is pushing up prices."

He says, however, that sustained house price growth relative to wages, combined with reduced momentum in the jobs market and squeezed consumer spending could curb house price growth as we move through 2017.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS chairman, adds: "Looking forward, activity does seem to have picked up a little since the slow start to the year and we hope the Chancellor doesn’t do anything to stop the market in its tracks and in particular supports first-time buyer activity."

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