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House price growth slows

House prices in Britain rose by 1.1 per cent in April, Halifax says, due in part to "easing demand".The building society says its index has unveiled the slowest monthly rise so far this year, and the second smallest since July 2006.According to Halifax annual house price inflation now stands at 10.9 per cent, down from 11.1 per cent in March.And despite 59 consecutive quarters of growth, the firm says market conditions are now the "tightest for nearly three years", attributable to the stock of unsold property on estate agents' books. "There is accumulating evidence of a slight easing of conditions in the housing market with further signs of moderation in both demand and activity in the past month," commented Martin Ellis, Halifax's chief economist."Demand remains healthy which, together with tight supply, continues to push up prices. Good economic growth and a strong labour market will continue to support healthy housing demand. "Negative real earnings growth and the increase in interest rates since last August, however, are expected to exert increasing pressure on householders' finances, resulting in [a] slowdown in house prices," Mr Ellis concluded.The Bank of England is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter of a per cent to 5.5 per cent today.

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