House prices boomed last year, according to recent figures. The latest house price index from mortgage lender Halifax reveals that the average UK house price went up by 7.5% in 2013, with the number of transactions carried out over the past 12 months reaching over one million (the first time since 2007).

In December, a UK home typically sold for £173,467 against £164,095 in the same period the previous year. The last month of 2013, however, saw the first monthly drop in prices since the start of the year, which brought values 0.6% lower. Still, monthly changes can’t really be considered a telling indicator for market developments; they can be notoriously volatile, and Halifax has pointed to quarterly changes as a more reliable gauge for trends. The growth rate in house prices for the last quarter of 2013 was 1.9% in sequential terms, with the average home price hitting £170,767. Compared with the last quarter of 2012, prices were 7.5% higher.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, expects consumer confidence to improve further in the coming months, supported by the continuing economic recovery and the projected drop in unemployment. Together, these factors will act as strong incentives for more people to get their foot on the property ladder in 2014, therefore underpinning housing demand. The recent improvement in prices also means that many homeowners have more equity than ever in their properties, which might prompt more people to put their home on the market, driving an increase in supply, Ellis said.

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