Further evidence of a more sustained rise in UK house prices than any observer thought possible arrived yesterday with the latest figures from Halifax.
The UK's biggest home lender said that house prices rose by 0.6% in the month to January, the seventh consecutive increase, and broadly in line with the rising trend reported by other sources such as the Nationwide and |Rightmove.
The Nationwide said last week that prices had risen by 1.2% in January.
The year-on-year increase in house prices picked up to 8.6% in January on the Nationwide's measure.
However, analysts also pointed out that the rise was the smallest since June, and suggested that what may have been a temporary boost in values due to a constriction in supply and opportunistic cash buying may be starting to wear off.
While the supply of mortgage |finance has improved since the nadirs seen in 2008, it is still far too low to support a sustained rise in prices.
According to Halifax, residential property prices are up 3.6% on the same time last year, and the average British home is worth £169,777, from April's low of £154,490.
Howard Archer, of Global Insight, commented: “We are sceptical that the marked rises in house prices can be sustained given a still far from favourable economic environment and tight credit conditions.
“We believe that a modest relapse in house prices is likely at some point in 2010.
“A relapse is even more likely to occur if more properties come on to the market as a result of the |recent firming in prices.”