June 07, 2013
House prices hit three year high
Fresh evidence has emerged that the housing market recovery is gaining traction after figures showed that house prices have jumped to their highest level in almost three years. Average property values rose by 2.6% to £166,898 in the year to May, according to Halifax's latest index. This was the highest level since August 2010 and comes after the number of first-time buyers rose by 15%. LSL Property Services said that about 22,000 people bought their first home in April, almost 3,000 more than the previous month. The Bank of England's Funding for Lending Scheme is being cited as the main driver behind the pick-up in activity. While the Home Builders Federation said yesterday that the equity loan part of the scheme had already made a "flying start" and that about 4,000 people have reserved a new home. "The Equity Loan scheme helps consumers overcome that deposit barrier and as a result the scheme will undoubtedly lead to an increase in housebuilding," Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the federation, comments. "Already we are seeing companies revise their projected build levels as a direct result of the scheme."