House prices rise for second month in row – up almost £1,400

But the typical house value remains 1.0% lower than a year ago.

Kim Kinnaird, Halifax Mortgages director, said: “Over the last year, despite the wider economic headwinds, property prices have held up better than expected – falling by a relatively modest 1.0% on an annual basis and still some £40,000 above pre-pandemic levels.

“Resilience seen in house prices during 2023 continues to be underpinned by a shortage of properties available, rather than any significant strengthening of buyer demand.

“Figures for mortgage approvals suggest a slight uptick in activity levels which is likely as a result of an improving picture on affordability.

“With mortgage rates starting to ease slightly, this may be leading to increased buyer confidence, seeing people more inclined to push ahead.

“However, the economic conditions remain uncertain, making it hard to assess the extent to which market activity will be maintained.”

Prices in the south-east of England fell sharply over the year by an average 5.7% or £22,702 per property.

Tom Bill, residential research head at Knight Frank, said: “If we are not at the bottom of the current housing market slowdown, we must be close. Sentiment has become more buoyant in recent weeks as the economic data improves and keeps downwards pressure on mortgage rates.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf commented: “Shortage of stock is supporting house prices. Falls in inflation and mortgage rates as well as the continuing strong employment figures have improved confidence.”

Matt Thompson, head of sales for the London-based estate agents Chestertons, considered that buyers were more motivated to continue their property search last month.

Ross McMillan, director at Glasgow mortgage broker Blue Fish Mortgage Solutions, added: “First-time buyers, encouraged by the more favourable trend in mortgage rates, are actively planning their early 2024 purchases.”

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