UK house price growth speeds up for the first time since March

UK house price growth speeds up for the first time since March
LONDON (Reuters) - Growth in British house prices in November picked up speed for the first time since March although price increases may slow in the coming months, mortgage lender Halifax said on Wednesday.

In the three months to November, house prices were 6.0 percent higher compared with the same period a year ago, up from growth of 5.2 percent in the three months to October and in line with the median forecast of economists polled by Reuters.

In monthly terms, house prices rose by 0.2 percent in November compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in October.

"Despite November's pick-up, the annual rate has been on a steady downward trend in recent months since reaching a peak of 10 percent in March," Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said. "Very low mortgage rates and an ongoing, and acute, shortage of properties available for sale should help support price levels although annual house price growth may slow over the coming months."

Britain's property market slowed immediately after the vote in June to leave the European Union. But since then the economy has fared better than most economists expected and there have been signs of a stabilisation in demand for housing.

Rival mortgage lender Nationwide last week said house prices rose in November but at their slowest rate since the beginning of year.

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; Editing by William Schomberg and Robin Pomeroy)