House prices continued their slow ascent in February, showing a modest monthly increase of 0.5%, according to the Halifax.
This contributed to both a quarterly and annual price rise of 1.9%, the lender said, bringing the price of the average UK house to £163,600.
“House sales also continue on a modest upward trend,” Martin Ellis, housing economist for the Halifax, said. “This increase in both prices and activity in recent months is consistent with evidence of some improvement in market conditions.
“The more than half-a-million increase in the number of people in employment over the past year is likely to have been a factor supporting housing demand.”
The headline figures hide a mixed picture, however, as the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases – a leading indicator of completed house sales – fell by 2% between December 2012 and January 2013, according to the Bank of England.
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