The Halifax says a jump in values of up to eight per cent over the next 12 months will make the average UK home worth £187,000.And the forecast comes after the bank recorded an average £10,000 house-price rise last year. The year-on-year 7.5 per cent increase to £173,467 was close to a 7.7 per cent rise recorded in November, which was the highest annual lift seen in six years.And sales of homes hit one million last year for the first time since the property boom of 2007.
The latest property price index also showed the number of sales up for the seventh successive month in November to 96,980 – 24 per cent higher than in November 2012.Matthew Turner, of the UK buying agents Astute Property Search, said: “What’s not in doubt is that transaction levels have picked up significantly. For sales likely to have exceeded one million for the first time since 2007 shows the much-improved fluidity of the market.“More people are buying and more people are selling than have done for a number of years.”Values did fall back month-on-month for the first time in almost 11 months, slipping 0.6 per cent in December.But the Halifax said that monthly price movements can be “volatile” and on a quarterly basis, which is generally a more reliable indication of the underlying trend, prices lifted by 1.9 per cent.Other research by the lender found that 51 per cent of people think 2014 will be a good time to sell a property compared with 39 per cent who do not.
This is the first time since the regular survey began in spring 2011 that the proportion of people thinking positively outweighed those who thought it would be a bad time.Andy Hatoum, of the property search engine Placebuzz.com, said: “Buyer confidence is back with a vengeance in many parts of the country, fuelled by a continued supply of cheap mortgages and a more buoyant economy.“The slight worry is that mixed in with this confidence is a degree of fear, especially with first-time buyers, that if they don’t take the plunge now they will be left behind as lack of supply and buyer demand drives prices higher and out of reach.”A lack of homes on the market is one of the main factors that housing market experts say has been pushing up house prices.Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “The recent strengthening in house prices is increasing the amount of equity that many home owners have in their home.
”Halifax’s report comes after building society Nationwide recently reported house prices surged by 8.4 per cent over 2013 across the UK as the market revival became increasingly broad-based.Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight, said: “Latest surveys and data on the housing market are largely robust and there is a real risk that a new housing bubble could really develop in 2014.”lThe Bank of England is set to hold interest rates at record lows today despite speculation that falling unemployment means it may soon have to raise borrowing costs or change the threshold for doing so.