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Halifax: home loans 'affordable'

Large deposits may be hindering house buyers, but for those on the property ladder, mortgages are at their most affordable for 14 years, the lender Halifax said yesterday.

Record low interest rates mean typical mortgage payments for both first-time buyers and movers stood at 27 per cent of disposable earnings in the final quarter of 2011, well below the 37 per cent average of the last 27 years and barely half the level seen at the peak of the housing market in 2007.

House prices perked up 0.6 per cent in January – their first rise in three months – but Halifax was quick to dampen hopes of a sustained property market revival.

Prices are down 1.8 per cent year-on-year, and Halifax's housing economist, Martin Ellis, said: "Notwithstanding monthly fluctuations, the average UK house price is very close to where it was eight months' ago ...If the UK can avoid a prolonged recession, we expect broad stability in house prices in 2012."