Halifax says house prices to be little changed in 2013

UK house prices rose on the month in November, and are expected to be little changed over the course of 2013, U.K. lender Halifax said Thursday. “Conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year,” said Martin Ellis, the Halifax’s housing economist.

“This stability is remarkable given the poor domestic economic climate and the considerable uncertainty regarding the prospects for both the UK and world economies.”

House prices rose 1.0% on the month in November and were 1.3% lower when compared with a year earlier. That compares with drops of 0.1% on the month and 1.7% on the year in November. The figure was considerably stronger than analysts’ estimates of a 0.2% rise and broke a four month run of falling prices. The lender’s figures were considerably more bullish than those from the Nationwide, which reported house prices were flat in November.

Specifically Halifax said it forecasts a change in U.K. house prices of between a fall of 2% and an increase of 2% over the course of next year.

The lender also reported that in the three months to November, house prices were 0.7% lower than in the three months to August, compared with a 1.0% decline in the three months to October. “However, we suspect that any significant, sustainable turnaround in house prices is still some way off.”

It was a similar message from Blerina Uruci at Barclays.

“So far, supply restrictions and accommodative monetary policy have provided some support to the housing market and prevented prices from falling significantly,” she said.

Halifax also said that while the economic outlook remains challenging, there are some signs that the Funding for Lending Scheme that rewards banks who increase their lending levels to consumers and small businesses with access to cheaper lending rates.

But, the lender warns their outlook is closely tied to the uncertain outlook for the U.K..

“The outlook for the U.K. economy remains highly uncertain. Risks in the global economy remain significant and how these evolve will be key determinants of how activity in the U.K. progresses over the coming year,” Mr. Ellis said.