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LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices rose at a much stronger pace than expected last month, fuelled by a shortage of new homes coming to the market, mortgage lender Halifax said on Thursday.
The pace, however, was slower than the month before. House prices rose a monthly 1.7 percent in January, slowing from December's 2.0 percent upturn but topping all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists that had pointed to a 0.3 percent increase.
House prices were 9.7 percent higher than a year ago, compared with a 9.5 percent annual increase in December, Halifax said.
Reporting by Andy Bruce Editing by Jeremy Gaunt