House prices rose by 1.7 per cent in October, according to new figures from the Halifax house price index.
The index also suggested, however, that price inflation in the house price market could ease over the next few months, with falling demand perhaps heralded by signs of weakening activity in the early stages of the house-buying process including a sharp fall in new buyer enquiries in September.
Falling numbers of prospective buyers are looking at homes, according to reports from the House Builders' Federation, which has announced the third fall in numbers looking within four months.
Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis anticipated that higher utility bills – and increased mortgage rates would constrain housing demand and ease house price inflation.
The interest rate rise to five per cent announced today by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is also likely to play a marked role.
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors senior economist David Stubbs commented that the anticipated rate rise would "help to cool the market somewhat".
He anticipated, however, that conditions would "remain firm" into 2007.
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