UK house prices rise at fastest rate since July 2010 - Nationwide

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices rose at their fastest rate in more than three years this month, data from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Friday, just a day after the Bank of England announced steps to curb rising house prices.

Nationwide said house prices in November were 6.5 percent higher than a year earlier, the biggest increase since July 2010 and larger than economists had expected, though still around 6 percent below their peak in late 2007.

On the month, house prices were up 0.6 percent, in line with forecasts but below the 1.0 percent seen in October.

"A large part of the improvement can be attributed to further improvements in the labour market and the brighter economic outlook," said Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner.

"Policy measures aimed at keeping down the cost and improving the availability of credit are also playing an important role," he added.

Gardner did not refer to the BoE's decision on Thursday to put the brakes on a scheme launched last year to help boost mortgage lending.

The central bank said that from January the Funding for Lending Scheme would cease to offer incentives for mortgage lending and instead focus on helping small firms to borrow.

The annual rise in house prices tallies with that reported by rival mortgage lender Halifax earlier in the month, which said house prices in the three months to October were 6.9 percent higher than a year earlier.

Later on Friday the Bank of England will report October mortgage approvals data, which are forecast to show a further rise from September's five-year high.

Britain's economy grew at its fastest pace in more than three years in the three months to September, and figures earlier on Friday showed in November consumer confidence had fallen only slightly from September's six-year high.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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