UK Property Market Ends Year Up

The margins were close, but the final tally shows the United Kingdom’s (UK) real estate market ended 2012 in the black. Both prices and sales increased in the …

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The margins were close, but the final tally shows the United Kingdom’s (UK) real estate market ended 2012 in the black. Both prices and sales increased in the last quarter of the year according to the lender Halifax, although numbers for the year overall were neutral. Experts measured monthly increases and dips over the course of 2012, but the last three months proved to be among the best periods for gains. Analysts at the Halifax are predicting stability for the country’s real estate market in 2013, although forecasts for the economy are less certain. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

House prices in the UK increased by 1.3% in December and activity also improved towards the end of 2012, the latest index from the Halifax published today (Monday 07 December) shows.

House prices in the final quarter of 2012 were 0.6% higher than in the previous quarter, the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend since May 2012 following six consecutive falls.
 
Prices in the three months to December were slightly lower, down by 0.3%, compared with the last three months of 2011 but the lender pointed out that this marked an improvement over the previous few months and was the smallest annual decline since May 2012 when it was -0.1%.
 
Overall, there were six monthly rises and six decreases during 2012 and activity picked up modestly in recent months, from 75,000 in July to 80,000 in November. Overall, sales in the three months to November were 2% higher than in the same period last year.

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,? said Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax.

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,? he explained.

The Halifax expects the housing market to remain broadly stable in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin. The outlook for the UK economy and house prices, however, remains more unclear than usual. Subdued economic growth, sustained high unemployment and pressures on household finances will constrain housing demand. The relatively low level of mortgage payments in relation to income, however, should provide support for house prices,? said Ellis.

More people expect house prices to rise than fall over the coming twelve months, according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker. Nearly four in ten, 38% of respondents predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, whilst less than a fifth of respondents (18%) forecast a decline in prices.
 
The headline House Price Outlook balance, that is the difference between the proportion of people that expect house prices to rise rather than fall, stood at +20 in December. This is the highest reading since the survey began in April 2011, surpassing the previous high of +19 in March 2012. Optimism has risen since the last survey in October when the House Price Outlook balance stood at +15.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.

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