GB: Halifax HPI

Thu Mar 05 02:00:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
M/M % change -0.2% -0.3% 2.0% 1.9%
Yr/Yr % change- 3 mo moving av 8.5% 8.3% 8.5%

UK house prices fell 0.3 percent on the month in February according to the new Halifax survey. The drop followed a marginally smaller revised 1.9 percent bounce at the start of the year and saw annual house price inflation over the latest three months slip to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent.

Despite February's modest reversal, prices in the three months to February were up 2.6 percent versus September-November, their strongest gain since the third quarter of 2014.

Home sales eased further in January but, with mortgage approvals up for a second straight month and borrowing costs around record lows, there still looks to be decent life in the housing market. Indeed, despite a rising number of new properties being built, supply remains tight and little changed over the past year and should provide a useful base to prices going forward.

The Halifax's findings are not too different from those of the Nationwide survey released on Monday which showed prices dipping 0.1 percent versus January. The monthly figures are very erratic but market fundamentals point to a sustained increased in property prices in 2015, albeit at likely a significantly slower pace than in 2014 (8.8 percent).

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.