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9-08-04 04:00
UK House Prices Continue to Rise

By RACHEL CONSTANTINE


House price inflation in England and Wales accelerated in the second quarter of 2004, according to Government figures.

The increases came despite a series of interest rate hikes to cool the booming property market since November.

The Land Registry said the average house price in the second quarter rose 16.98pc compared with a year earlier - up from a 14.06pc year-on-year increase in the first quarter.
  
The Bank of England (BoE) has raised interest rates five times for a total increase of 125 basis points since November, partly to cool soaring house prices, as policymakers are worried the longer the boom goes on, the greater the risk of a crash.

The latest increase came on Thursday 5th August, raising the official interest rate to 4.75pc, its highest in nearly three years. Afterwards the BoE said that although the housing market was still buoyant, there were signs it was beginning to ease.

Still, indicators like the Nationwide house price index pointed to a pick-up in house price growth in July while the Halifax index showed faster growth than in June but a slowdown when compared with rates seen at the beginning of the year.

The Land Registry said the average house price in the second quarter was UK£175,401 in England and Wales.

The volume of sales rose 22.13pc compared with a year earlier with nearly a thousand one-million pound properties being sold in the second quarter.


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