Year-on-year growth in UK house prices ticked up for first time in more than a year in August, new figures have shown.
Halifax's closely-watched house price index showed prices rose 2.6 per cent in the year to the end of August, up from 2.1 per cent last month. The year-on-year figure has been in steady decline over the past 12 months, falling from 6.9 per cent since August last year.
The figure edged up 0.1 per cent in the three months to the end of August, the first time the quarterly figure has been in positive territory since March, and 1.1 per cent between July and August, up from a 0.7 per cent rise the month before.
Crucially, activity in the market also rose, with 104,760 homes sold between June and July - the most since March 2016. In the three months to July, activity was 10 per cent higher than during the same period last year. The market has slowed in recent months as new rules on stamp duty and uncertainty over Brexit put homeowners off selling: data by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) showed this summer the number of homes advertised for sale fell to its lowest July figure since 2002.
The average house price hit £222,293 in August, up from £219,293 in July - and just above the high of £222,190 they hit in December last year.
“Recent figures for mortgage approvals suggest some buoyancy may be returning, possibly on the back of strong recent employment growth, with the unemployment rate falling to a 42 year low," said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax Community Bank.
"However, wage growth is still lagging increases in consumer prices, which is likely to add pressure on household finances and increase affordability challenges for some buyers."
"The UK housing market has defied the usual slower summer trends to show strong price growth on a monthly and annual basis," added Russell Quirk, founder of online estate agent Emoov.
"This initial increase puts the market in good stead despite a rough ride over the last year and we should now see some degree of normality return as we see out 2017.”