The housing market saw a bounce towards the end of 2019 as prices rose 1.7 percent in December - fastest monthly rate for more than a decade – according to figures from Halifax.
Combined with November’s rise of 1.2 percent month-on-month, the Halifax index recorded a 2.9 percent gain across the last two months of 2019, the strongest result since February 2018.
Mortgage approvals rose slightly from October, Halifax said. Bank of England figures showed that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases were 64,994 in November. That represents a 0.5 percent month on month rise, following a fall of 1.8 percent in October. Year on year growth is 1.4 percent.
All three UK house price indices for Dec 19 suggest prices inflecting higher. Today's Halifax data showing the biggest move (+4% YoY), but needs caution given previous methodological issues. But alongside revision higher in Services PMI does broaden signs of post-election bounce. pic.twitter.com/GqyfQrcXYN— Simon French (@shjfrench) January 8, 2020
Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “Average house prices rose by four percent over 2019, at the top of our predicted range of two percent to four percent growth for the year. This was driven by a monthly gain of 1.7 percent in December which was the biggest monthly increase of 2019, pushing up the year-on-year growth rate and reflecting that December 2018 was a particularly weak month.
“Looking ahead, we expect uncertainty in the economy to ease somewhat in 2020, which should see transaction volumes increase and further price growth made possible by an improvement in households’ real incomes.
“Longer-term issues such as the shortage of homes for sale and low levels of house-building will continue to limit supply, while the ongoing challenges faced by prospective buyers in raising deposits will serve to constrain demand. As a result, we expect a modest pace of gains to continue into next year.”