It might not be a lot to shout about but house prices continued to rise in February by up to 0.2 per cent compared to January, according to new figures out today from the Land Registry.
This helped offset more negative lending figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and British Bankers Association for the same month.
However, before we get too carried away it’s important to realise that the national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outstrip the rest. We expect this situation to continue throughout this year.
On the lending front, the picture is increasingly positive with some of the cheapest mortgages ever seen. Lenders continue to cut rates and offer more choice at higher loan-to-values as well, which is steadily boosting the number of first-time buyers.
There was a welcome drop in the number of repossessions in December 2012 compared with the same month a year ago but any repossession is one too many. It is also worrying that the number of repossessions in London actually rose, suggesting that the high cost of living in the capital is proving too much for some homeowners. The fact that this is happening even though interest rates are at historic lows is a real concern. It is vital that lenders continue to show forbearance towards borrowers.