Halifax house prices figures and a rise in mortgage fraudIn a week dominated by the Autumn Statement it’s been pretty quiet on the housing front, although we can bring you the latest Halifax house price figures and also news of a worrying rise in the level of mortgage fraud.

Latest Halifax house price survey: A stable or stagnant market?

Last week we had figures from the Nationwide, this week it’s the turn of the Halifax to release their house price data for November.

According to the Halifax, house prices rose by 1% in November, but fell by 1.3% over the past 12 months taking the average house price to £160,879.

Last week the Nationwide Building Society reported a similar year on year fall, whilst suggesting that prices remained unchanged in November.

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Overall, according to the three major surveys from Nationwide, Halifax and Land Registry, house prices have remained relatively unchanged during 2012, which for some mean the market is stable, whilst others are interpreting this as ‘stagnation’.

He continued: “Both demand and supply pressures in the market have altered little during the course of 2012, and this has been the key reason for the lack of anything other than modest changes in house sales and prices at a national level compared with a year ago. Challenging economic conditions have constrained housing demand whilst low interest rates have helped to support affordability and demand.”

Reacting to the figures Martin Ellis, Housing Economist, at the Halifax said: “There has been very little change in house prices overall during the past year with the average UK price in November almost identical to that in November 2011. Prices in the three months from September to November were 0.7% lower than in the preceding three months.”

“There are signs that the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) is helping to reduce mortgage rates and may be contributing to the recent pick-up in mortgage approvals. The FLS should help to ease credit constraints, resulting in some improvement in mortgage availability in 2013.”

Autumn Statement

There was little to directly affect homeowners in the Autumn Statement, with George Osborne rejecting the idea of a ‘mansion tax’ or introducing new council tax bands for larger homes.

Whilst owners of larger houses will be pleased, there was some disappointment that no new measures were announced to help first time buyers, for example a reintroduction of the Stamp Duty holiday.

Mortgage fraud expected to rise

New figures show that mortgage fraud is expected to rise in 2013.

The prediction comes from Experian, who suggest that 43 out of every 10,000 mortgage applications in 2013 will be fraudulent, a rise of 13% on 2012 and 26% on 2011.

The majority of the fraudulent applications seem to come from first time buyers, desperate to get onto the housing ladder and from people trying to conceal previous credit issues.

Nick Mothershaw, of Experian, said: “Almost 90% of mortgage fraud tends to originate from genuine individuals misrepresenting their financial situations.”

Mothershaw continues: “With tougher rules on UK mortgage lending set to come into force in 2014 – where lenders will have to put a borrower’s ability to repay under greater scrutiny – it important that they have the correct tools in place to do this, especially as attempted fraud in this industry is set to increase significantly over the next 12 months.

“Increased fraud levels in specific industries mean that it has never been more important to ensure that applications for new credit facilities are analysed for signs of fraudulent activity.”

Our mortgage adviser, Linda Wood, is here to help you. If you would like advice on your options or you are affected by any of the stories in this week’s housing round up please call Linda today on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online or email linda.wood@investmentsense.co.uk

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