House prices will rise by almost a fifth in the next three years says the Treasury (6 Dec).  The estimate, from the Office for  Budget Responsibility has led to warnings of a repeat of the boom and bust that preceded the financial crisis which started in 2007.  The OBR states that stamp duty receipts will jump from nearly £9 billion to nearly £17 billion in 2018-19.  The increase will be fuelled by an increase in purchasers and the likely leap in prices which will push more people into higher stamp duty bands.

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating the residential property services market after a sharp rise in complaints about overcharging (Daily Telegraph, 4 Dec).  The watchdog will scrutinise maintenance, cleaning and building companies to see if leaseholders are getting value for money.  There are 5 million people living in leasehold properties, many of them old and vulnerable.

Nationwide, the country's second largest mortgage lender, has revealed that property prices in the UK have reached 6.5% (29th November) up from 5.8% last month.

House prices in England and Wales show a 3.1% annual increase according to figures from the Land Registry published on 28th November although prices dropped 0.2% between October and November 2013.

The Government's Funding for Lending Scheme which supports potential home buyers will stop in January 2014 and funds refocused to help businesses.  On 28th November Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said that an over heated housing market would damage the economy hence the switch.  

Property website Rightmove reveals (18 Nov) that house sellers' prices have risen at their fastest annual rate since 2007.  Sellers are asking four per cent more for their property in November than a year ago.  Rightmove has expressed confidence that the recovery will continue in 2014.

House prices will rise across the UK by 7% in 2014 and 5% the following year a report by Knight Frank says.  The residential agent predicts that all regions will benefit from price hikes at a rate of growth last seen before the financial crisis hit in 2008.  The boost is thought to come from the Government's Help to Buy which has helped first time buyers secure mortgages and increased confidence.

The Governor of the Bank Of England, Mark Carney, has given an upbeat assessment of the UK economy in The Daily Telegraph (Nov 14) saying:  "For the first time in a long time you don't have to be an optimist to see the glass is half full."  The Bank has raised the prospect of a 2015 interest rate rise with the "unexpectedly strong recovery" likely to push unemployment to below 7% - the threshold needed for an interest rate hike.  The Bank's inflation expectations are down with the consumer prices index measure of inflation expected to dip below 2% next year.

The Halifax (11 November) has reported the average house price in UK is now just under £172,000 - an increase of 6.9% on last year and the ninth consecutive month that prices have risen.  Prices increased by 0.7% in October reports the Halifax.

Business confidence in the UK is at its highest for a decade with growth the fastest out of any Western nation as the recovery gains momentum according to a new report (4 November).  The study was commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.  It shows strong demand in the construction sector and signs that business will increase investment spending and jobs in the run up to Christmas.  The report says the economy could grow by 1.3% in the fourth quarter, up from 0.8% in the previous quarter.