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House prices at standstill

House price growth stalled during October as the boost the market received from August's interest rate cut ran out of steam, figures showed today.
The 0 per cent change follows signs that the market had been recovering, with prices rising by 1.9 per cent in August and 1.1 per cent in September, according to the Halifax.

Britain's biggest mortgage lender said the lack of growth this month suggested that, while the property market had strengthened recently, it was not heading for another period of strong increases.

Annual house price inflation for the year to the end of October rose to 3.9 per cent, the highest level for five months, but this was still well down on the 18.5 per cent it was running at in the same month of last year.

The figures come after other economic data had suggested the housing market may have turned a corner. Earlier this week, Nationwide Building Society reported a 1.3 per cent jump in house prices during the month, although it cautioned that it was too early to say if this represented the beginning of a sustained period of recovery.

The Bank of England also said the number of mortgages approved for people buying new homes had risen to a 15-month high in September, while the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said buyer inquiries had increased during September for the fourth month running.

Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist, said: 'The overall pattern of price movements over the past few months shows that the market has strengthened compared with earlier in the year, but the static level of prices in October suggests that we are not poised for another sustained period of sharply rising property values.'

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