GB: Halifax HPI

Thu Feb 05 02:00:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
M/M % change 0.1% 2.0% 0.9% 1.1%
Yr/Yr % change- 3 mo moving av 7.8% 8.5% 7.8%

House prices in January saw their strongest monthly rise since last May according to the latest survey from the Halifax. A 2.0 percent jump followed an upwardly revised 1.1 percent increase in December to lift the annual growth rate for the latest three months to 8.5 percent, up from 7.8 percent at year-end and the first acceleration since July 2014.

The surprising buoyancy of prices last month follows December's increase in mortgage approvals, the first in half a year, and could signal that the housing market is starting to acquire fresh traction after a relatively soft second half to last year. That said, the monthly data are highly volatile and it will take a few more months of decent gains to confirm that there has indeed been a change in trend.

Still, with supply having tightened for five consecutive months, sales essentially flat in December after four successive monthly declines and mortgage rates near record lows, market fundamentals remain positive. The Halifax expects prices to rise 3-5 percent in calendar 2015 after an 8 percent increase last year.

Halifax House Price Index is the UK's longest running monthly house price measure with data covering the whole country going back to January 1983. The Index is based on the largest monthly sample of mortgage data, typically covering around 15,000 house purchases per month, and covers the whole calendar month.

Home values affect much in the economy - especially the housing and consumer sectors. Periods of rising home values encourage new construction while periods of soft home prices can damp housing starts. Changes in home values play key roles in consumer spending and in consumer financial health. During the first half of this decade sharply rising home prices boosted how much home equity households held. In turn, this increased consumers' ability to spend, based on wealth effects and from being able to draw upon expanding home equity lines of credit.