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U.K. December House Prices Rise Unexpectedly


British house prices increased unexpectedly in December, marking the second straight month of increase, a survey by Lloyds Banking Group's Halifax division showed Monday.

Data signals no clear direction as to demand and supply, while forecasting little change in prices during 2013, the mortgage lender said.

House prices rose 1.3 percent in December from a month ago, the Halifax survey found. Prices were forecast to remain flat after climbing 1.6 percent in November.

Overall, there were six monthly rises and six decreases during 2012 as they lacked real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged last year.

"We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin," Martin Ellis, housing economist said.

At GBP 163,845, house prices were slightly lower by 0.3 percent during the three months to December than in the last three months of 2011. Nonetheless, this was the smallest decline since May 2012.

Meanwhile, prices climbed 0.6 percent from the preceding three months, which was the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend for seven months.

According to the Nationwide Building Society, house prices dropped marginally in December due to weak demand and supply conditions.

With economic recovery expected to remain fairly weak, the housing market is likely to be characterized by low levels of activity again in 2013, with prices remaining flat or modestly lower over the course of the year, Nationwide pointed out.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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