Halifax says price of houses up 0.9%

HOUSE prices rose 0.9 per cent in July, according to the Halifax Building Society.

This was slightly ahead of the 0.7 per cent increase recorded by the Nationwide Building Society last month. The overall picture presented by the two lenders is one of gentle recovery.

Statistics from banks and building societies on mortgage lending and commitments to lend, both indicators of activity in the housing market, also confirm an improving trend.

Major banks made gross mortgage loans of just under pounds 5.1bn in the second quarter of the year, a 22 per cent increase over the first quarter and just over 19 per cent more than the same period last year.

During the second quarter of this year, banks approved 104,500 loans worth just over pounds 5bn, an increase of 25 per cent and 29 per cent respectively on the first quarter.

John Ecklin, director of statistics at the British Bankers Association, said: 'Our approvals figure is the best we have had for the last two years so it shows that the next quarter should be good.'

On Monday, the Council of Mortgage Lenders announced a sharp increase in total new lending, from pounds 10.9bn to pounds 13.5bn between the first and second quarters of this year with a 25 per cent rise in the number of new loans approved.

An index of house prices compiled by the market research company James R Adams & Associates, based on 11,000 property transactions, shows that the average price of properties bought between April and June increased by 7 per cent over the first quarter of this year, to pounds 62,864 - a 3 per cent rise over the same period last year.

According to the Halifax Building Society: 'House prices are likely to end 1993 slightly higher than they were at the beginning of the year, and rise somewhat more strongly in 1994.'

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