House prices will change little in 2013, Halifax says

UK house prices fell by 0.3% in 2012 and will remain at the same level during 2013, the Halifax has said. Property prices were 1.3% higher in December than they had been in November, with the average home valued at £163,845, it said. The Halifax said it expected continued “stability”, but added that the outlook for the UK economy and house prices was more unclear than usual.

This has been echoed by others although regional differences are expected.

The broadly unchanged picture is an average across the UK. In general, surveys show that London and the South East of England have seen price rises, but there have been falls elsewhere, notably in Northern Ireland. “Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012,” said Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax. “We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin.”

Earlier this month, the Nationwide Building Society said that UK house prices fell by 1% on average in 2012. The way the two lenders calculate the annual rate of change differs slightly. The Halifax compares the average house price over the past three months with the average for the same three-month period the year before. The Nationwide conducts a straightforward monthly year-on-year comparison, although this could be affected by short-term blips. The building society expects prices to remain static in 2013, saying that conditions in the housing market remain “fragile”.