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UK annual house price growth hits 2-year high

London

BRITISH annual house price growth picked up more than expected last month to hit its highest in over two years, mortgage lender Halifax said on Wednesday, contrasting with other signs of a muted housing market.

House prices in the three months to April stood 5 per cent higher than a year ago, the strongest growth since February 2017 and a marked increase from the 2.6 per cent rise recorded for the three months to March.

The reading came in above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists that had pointed to an annual increase of 4.5 per cent in the three months to April.

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Market voices on:

"The surge in house prices reported by Halifax cannot be reconciled with any other evidence from the housing market. Less volatile measures paint a far more subdued picture," said Samuel Tombs, an economist at Pantheon Economics.

Halifax said the year-on-year gains reflected unusually weak prices in April 2018, as well as more sales of more expensive newly built homes and a bigger proportion of sales coming from London, where house prices are above average. REUTERS