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Another index shows stronger-than-expected housing market

Last week the Nationwide reported house prices rising unexpectedly in July - now the Halifax has done the same, reporting a 0.4 per cent rise last month after a drop of 0.9 per cent in June.

The Halifax increase is the largest increase over one month since late 2016 and takes the typical price of a home in the UK to £219,266.

Prices in the slightly longer term - over the three months to July - were marginally lower than in the preceding three months, while the annual rate of growth edged down from 5.7 per cent in January to 2.1 per cent in July - the lowest rate since April 2013.

“The rise in the employment level by 175,000 in the three months to May helped push the unemployment rate down to 4.5 per cent, the lowest since June 1975. However, this improvement in the jobs market has not, as yet, boosted wage growth, resulting in earnings rising at a slower rate than consumer prices” explains Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank.

“This squeeze on spending power, together with the impact on property transactions of the stamp duty changes in 2016 now being realised, along with affordability concerns, appear to have contributed to weaker housing demand. However, a continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should help continue to support house prices over the coming months” he adds.

Nationally, house prices in July 2017 were 10 per cent above their August 2007 peak - just as the credit crunch was beginning in earnest. The average house price of £219,266 is £64,603 (42 per cent) higher than its low point of £154,663 in April 2009.

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