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LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Growth in British house prices picked up speed for the second month in a row in December and a shortage of homes on the market is expected to support prices in 2017, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday.
In the three months to December, house prices were 6.5 percent higher compared with the same period a year earlier, up from growth of 6.0 percent in the three months to November, Halifax said.
A Reuters poll of economists had expected an increase of 5.8 percent.
In monthly terms, house prices jumped by 1.7 percent in December, the strongest increase since March.
Martin Ellis, an economist with Halifax, said yearly price growth was expected to slow to between 1 and 4 percent by the end of 2017.
"The relatively wide range for the forecast reflects the higher than normal degree of uncertainty regarding the prospects for the UK economy this year," he said in a statement. (Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)