House prices accelerate while mortgage numbers drop


The Halifax, one of the UK’s biggest lenders, has said that house prices rose by 8.7% in the year to March. Compared to the last quarter of 2013, the first quarter of 2014 saw an average price increase of 2.3%.


The increase has been attributed to economic improvement, a rise in employment and consumer confidence.


Looked at on a monthly basis, house prices fell by 1.1% in March compared with February this year.


Mortgage approvals fell from 76,753 in January to 70,309 in March. This represents the biggest drop in over six years.


Chief property analyst at Capital Economics, Ed Stansfield, said: ‘Although likely to be temporary, today’s sharp fall in mortgage approvals should go some way towards calming fears that the housing market recovery is rapidly spiralling out of control’.


The average house sale price rose steeply at the turn of the year – compared to their asking price – most notably in London where sale prices have increased to an average of 98% of asking price.