House prices ended the year up a very optimistic 4% annually – almost four times higher than rival indices – according to the December Halifax House Price Index.
The lender’s data, based on mortgage approvals, was well out of sync with others for much of 2019 and ended the year claiming that average prices were up 1.7% on a monthly basis – the largest increase during a calendar month for 2019 – to £238,963.
In contrast, Nationwide’s House Price Index for December said average prices increased 1.4% annually and just 0.1% on a monthly basis.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Average house prices rose by 4% over 2019, at the top of our predicted range of 2% to 4% growth for the year. This was driven by a monthly gain of 1.7% in December which was the biggest monthly increase of 2019, pushing up the year-on-year growth rate and reflecting that December 2018 was a particularly weak month.
“Looking ahead, we expect uncertainty in the economy to ease somewhat in 2020, which should see transaction volumes increase and further price growth made possible by an improvement in households’ real incomes.”