House prices increasing 'at fastest rate for three years'
Figures released by the Halifax suggest that house prices are rising at the fastest annual rate for three years.
The Halifax survey found that prices in the three months to the end of June were 2.1% higher than in the previous quarter and 3.7% higher than in the same period last year.
Halifax spokesman Martin Ellis said the increases are the highest we’ve seen for three years.
He said: "Activity has also improved in recent months. Both home sales and mortgage approvals for house purchase – a leading indicator of sales – increased in May.
"Improved confidence in both the housing market and the economy, combined with a shortage of properties available for sale, appear to be pushing up house prices.
“The Funding for Lending Scheme is also likely to be boosting the market by helping to reduce mortgage rates. There are also early indications that the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme may be stimulating demand.”
The Halifax figures are backed up by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which expects house prices to rise by 1.5% over the next 12 months. It also predicts a 4% a year average increase over the next five years.
RICS director Peter Bolton said: "After what has seemed like a very long wait we are finally starting to see what looks like the beginning of a recovery in the housing market.
"It is important to remember that activity levels still remain depressed by historic standards but the various initiatives designed to encourage the provision of finance into the market do appear to be paying dividends."