Growth slows but market remains Robust.........
Growth in UK house prices slowed in the year to July, the country's largest mortgage lender has said, although they are still rising "robustly"
The Halifax said that prices rose at an annual pace of 7.9% last month - down from 9.6% in June. During July itself, prices actually fell, by 0.6%, the largest monthly drop since April 2014. It brings the average price of a flat or house across the country back down to £198,883.
The sharp fall in July was described as "a correction" by Howard Archer, chief UK economist with IHS Global Insight, following a 1.6% rise in prices in June.
The Halifax figures are in contrast to those from rival lender Nationwide, which said earlier this week that the rate of house price growth picked up to 3.5% in July, from 3.3% a month earlier. However, the Halifax said it expected strong growth in prices for the rest of the year. "The underlying pace of house price growth remains robust notwithstanding the easing in July," said Stephen Noakes, Halifax's managing director of retail customer products.
"Continuing economic recovery, earnings growth in excess of consumer price inflation, and very low mortgage rates all underpin housing demand."
Mr Archer said the contrasting figures from the Halifax and Nationwide served as a warning against reading too much into any one survey. "This highlights the need to not pin too much weight on one particular house price survey or measure, but to try and take an overall view from the data," he said.
Nationwide and Halifax both base their data on mortgage approvals, but they use a different "mix-adjustment" in their methodology. That involves a different weighting of the figures, to reflect different types of property being sold in any month, and more sales in a particular region of the UK.