U.K. Home-Price Growth May Ease as Supply Improves, Halifax Says

U.K. house prices barely rose in August and the pace of increases may be kept in check by an increase in supply and the prospect of interest-rate increases, according to Halifax.

The mortgage lender said today that values increased 0.1 percent from July and were up 9.4 percent compared with a year earlier. It also said there are “tentative signs that a better balance between demand and supply may be emerging which, if sustained, would help to dampen the pace of house-price growth.”

Recent reports indicate the property market may be cooling as the Bank of England, which has already introduced tougher lending rules, edges closer to raising interest rates. That, coupled with a surge in prices over the past year, has made potential buyers wary of stepping into the market.

Halifax said number of new buyer inquiries fell marginally in July, the first decline since January 2013, citing a separate index by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. New instructions from sellers increased for a second month.

In the three months through August, house prices rose 3 percent compared with the previous quarter. From a year earlier, prices were up 9.7 percent in the period, down from 10.2 percent in the quarter through July.

The BOE kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record-low 0.5 percent last week. In August, two of the bank’s nine policy makers wanted to increase the rate.

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