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House prices continue to strengthen in December

HOUSE prices in the UK recorded their sixth consecutive monthly rise in December, data from the Halifax showed yesterday, though the mortgage lender expects prices to plateau over the rest of 2010.

Prices rallied one per cent between November and December, bringing the cost of the average UK home to £169,042. December also saw house prices rise by 1.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis, the first increase on this measure since March 2008.

Halifax’s housing economist Martin Ellis said low interest rates and the recent improvement in the labour market had both contributed to stronger housing demand.

However, he said prices are likely to remain flat in 2010, adding: “The prospects for the market this year will depend on how the UK economy evolves and whether there is a significant increase in the supply of properties for sale.”