Business and finance 6 September 2013 Five questions answered on the recent spurt in UK house prices Highest annual rate since June 2010. Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up According to the Halifax's latest house price survey house prices in the UK have risen to the highest annual rate since June 2010 in the three months to August. By how much have house prices risen? In the three months to August house prices rose by 5.4 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to Halifax’s survey. Prices were also 2.1 per cent higher than the previous period. What about the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases? This figure, which is an indicator for completed house sales, rose 4 per cent to 60,600 between June and July. This is the first time that approvals have exceeded 60,000 since early 2008. What is responsible for these rises? It is thought the government’s Help to Buy scheme has boosted house sales. The scheme, available to both first-time buyers and people moving into a newly built home worth up to £600,000, offers a government backed loan of up to 20 per cent of the price of the property. It aims to make it easier to purchase property with a deposit of only 5 per cent. What has Halifax said about this boost in UK house prices? Martin Ellis, the Halifax's housing economist, said: "Overall, house prices are expected to rise gradually over the remainder of the year." The lender added that it thought below-inflation earnings rises "are likely to act as a brake on the market". What are the experts saying? There is a fear the UK housing market could be headed for another property bubble. However, there are some signs of a slow down, with Halifax reporting that prices rose 0.4 per cent in August from July, a lower rate than economists had forecast and lower than July's 0.9 per cent. Matthew Pointon, property economist at consultancy Capital Economics, speaking to the BBC said: "A short-term imbalance between housing demand and the number of homes on the market is driving price increases. "But the rise in wholesale interest rates seen over the past few weeks may soon start to feed through to mortgage rates, dampening demand. › Yahoo! tilts its logo for added whimsy. But how much is too much? Photograph: Getty Images Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!