Following hot on the heels of the Nationwide’s figures released last week, the Halifax has now revealed its own house price data for December.
The figures make interesting reading. Whilst they show an annual drop of 0.30%, lower than the Nationwide’s reported fall of 1%, there is evidence that prices are “firming” with a 0.6% increase over the past quarter and a 1.3% rise during the month of December itself.
According to the Halifax the average home in England and Wales is now worth £163,845.
The Halifax’s Housing Economist, said: “There was evidence of a firming in the housing market in the final few months of 2012. Prices in the three months from October to December were 0.6% higher than in the preceding three months. This was the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend for seven months.”
Ellis continued: “Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012. On an annual basis, prices in the final quarter of 2012 were marginally lower than in the last three months of 2011.”
House prices in 2013
Although the number of home sales has increased slightly during 2012, from 75,000 in July to 80,000 in November, with sales in the three months to November up 2%, the Halifax expect house prices in 2013 to stay broadly stable.
The Halifax, as well as other housing experts, believes that the general economic situation, relatively high unemployment and pressure on household finances will help to keep house prices subdued, whilst low interest rates, fuelled by the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) will help to stop values falling significantly.
Interestingly, the general public is more confident about house prices. The Halifax’s Housing Market Confidence tracker shows that 38% of people believe house prices will rise over the next 12 months, whilst only 18% think they will fall.
Whatever the truth no one is predicting significant moves in house prices, either up or down, in 2013.