UK Mortgage lender Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, on Thursday released its House Price Index for May 2013, which showed a rise in UK house prices of 0.4%.
According the Halifax, this was the fourth consecutive monthly rise in 2013, with house prices in the three months to May 2013 being 1.5% higher than in the preceding three months and 2.6% higher than in the same three months last year. The index also shows that this was slightly higher than the 1.3% increase in the three month-on-three month measure in April.
Home sales remain low by historical standards and despite the continued gradual increase, the current economic situation and low income growth is said be a significant constraint on the demand for housing. However there has been an improvement in market conditions since autumn 2012, with the ratio of house sales to the stock of unsold properties rising since then.
Signs of a returning confidence in the UK housing market have been recently reported by lenders, estate agents, surveyors and property websites. The Government has also launched schemes to make it easier for people to get onto the property ladder and The Homebuilders Federation has said that 4,000 new homes have been sold since the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme earlier this year.
There has also been an increase in number of mortgages on the market, reportedly because banks and building societies have been offering some of their lowest ever mortgage rates, while certain lenders are taking part in the Government and Bank Of England’s Funding For Lending Scheme, which offers lenders discounted loans in return for boosting the flow of credit to the economy.