House prices rise at fastest pace since November says Halifax

A woman walks past adverts in an estate agent window

The average house price in Britain is now £230,280 the highest on record Credit DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS AFP

A surprise spike in United Kingdom house prices in July has increased the annual rate of property inflation to 3.3%, pushing the cost of buying a home to a record high.

The average cost of a three-bedroom semi-detached home rose 3.3 per cent to a new record £230,280 in the year to July, as low unemployment and rising wages boosted the market.

That's a much higher jump in house prices than expected and a higher revision on the monthly figure for June as well.

The increase pushed house price inflation back above wage growth, which is now at 2.5 per cent a year.

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Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, also said July's rebound in prices was mainly due to a shortage of homes on the market and continuing low mortgage rates. Jonathan Hopper of Garrington Property Finders said:"With the rate of annual price growth rising to its highest level so far this year, the progress is no fl ash in the pan".

"With two negative quarters behind us, many were hoping the usually busy summer period would produce a bit of a bounce, and this is a promising start".

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax Bank, said: "Pressures on household finances are easing as growth in average earnings continues to rise at a faster rate than consumer prices".

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY ITEM Club, was cautious and said: 'We remain dubious that the housing market is seeing a sustainable shifting up of a gear.

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