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House prices soar further

05 May 2004
Britain's housing boom continued through April, according to the Halifax.

A survey by the mortgage lender showed prices jumped by 1.8 per cent April, slightly down on the 2.2 per cent rise in March, with prices up 19.1 per cent on last year.

The rise shifts the average property cost to more than £154,000.

"The strength of the overall economy in general and the labour market in particular are a key factor driving the housing market," Martin Ellis, chief economist at HBOS, told Bloomberg.

Low interest rates and high employment levels have also contributed to soaring house prices, which have defied the Bank of England's prediction of a slowdown.

The central bank is widely expected to boost borrowing costs tomorrow for a third time since November in a bid to keep a lid on inflation as economic growth picks up, economists believe.