|M/M % change||0.2%||0.4%||-0.3%||-0.4%|
|Yr/Yr % change- 3 mo moving av||8.1%||8.3%|
UK house prices rose a somewhat larger than expected 0.4 percent on the month in March according to the latest survey from the Halifax. The rise essentially reversed February's slightly steeper revised drop and left the first quarter HPI 2.6 percent up versus the previous period, when it advanced just 0.3 percent, and 8.1 percent higher than a year ago after an 8.3 percent increase in February.
March's rebound means that, with the exception of February, house prices have risen every month since last October but last month was also the smallest during this period. Home sales were up in both January and February but in the latter, purchases were still some 8 percent below their mark a year ago. The market is clearly well past its peak.
Nonetheless, falling unemployment, positive real earnings growth, record low mortgage rates and high levels of consumer confidence suggest that 2015 should be another positive year. Supply also remains tight. Conditions could become very different once mortgage rates finally start to head north but this looks some while off yet and outside of any uncertainty prompted by next month's general election, near-term market fundamentals continue to look quite sound.
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.
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