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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

House prices rise nearly 10% in a year

UK house prices rose 9.7% in the year to October and should continue climbing over the coming year, according to the latest monthly survey from Halifax.

The average UK house price is now £205,240, up from £186,469 a year ago, as a shortage of new homes led to a higher-than-expected annual increase.

The Halifax House Price Index reported that improving economic conditions and low mortgage rates had boosted housing demand as supply fell to a record low.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, said: “The imbalance between supply and demand is likely to persist over the coming months, maintaining upward pressure on house prices.”

House prices rose 1.1% in October, following a 0.9% decline in September.

Jeremy Leaf, former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said rapid house price growth risks marginalising first-time buyers even further and damaging the health of the market.

“There is not enough balance in the housing market and there are still significant barriers to entry, despite lower mortgage rates.”

Leaf said high prices and low supply makes life very tricky for buyers. “Those looking forward to welcoming in the new year in a new home might be struggling to achieve this unless they are prepared to pay for it.”

Russell Quirk, founder online estate agent eMoov.co.uk, said the abundance of more affordable mortgage products and general lack of housing was behind the increase, as inventory levels hitting an all time low.

“Mortgage costs are low at present, but this won’t be the case forever.

“A large number of the British public scrambling to secure mortgages now, coupled with a severe lack of stock on the market, is a dangerous fuel to be driving the property market on.”

Quirk said UK buyers could be tempted to borrow more than they would in normal circumstances to secure a property. “Should interest rates jump up, they could find themselves in a difficult situation financially.”

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