(Bloomberg) -- Hi, I’m Leo from Bloomberg's UK Breaking News team, catching you up on this morning’s business stories. 

Remember all the gloomy predictions about the plunge in UK house prices 12 months ago? Well, they just rose for the second month in a row, according to Halifax. The mortgage lender’s data also showed that prices are just 1% lower than a year ago. My colleague David Goodman gives you his take below. 

What’s your take? Ping me on X, LinkedIn or drop me an email at lkehnscherpe@bloomberg.net. 

Key Business News

Another day, another buyout. KKR is snapping up Smart Metering Systems — which operates smart meters and electric vehicle chargers — in a £1.3 billion take-private deal at a juicy 40% premium. 

Mike Ashley's retail empire Frasers Group stuck to its profit goal for the year. In light of the cost-of-living crisis, a retailer confirming guidance can already be seen as a sign of strength. Needless to say though, the high street is by far not out of the woods. Other retail and hospitality bosses are warning that prices may rise after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s move to increase wages for almost three million people.

Finally, Everton’s buyer 777 Partners, the Miami investment firm that has shot up the ranks of football’s biggest multi-club owners, may be in for a bumpy ride. Premier League officials studying its suitability to own a major English football club have turned sceptical in recent weeks after questions were raised about its finances. 777 has cried foul, saying there’s a campaign to torpedo its purchase.

Markets Today’s Take

It’s everyone's favourite topic. The UK housing market is back on the agenda this morning after that Halifax report.

Two months of gains don't mean the market is back on its feet, of course, but it is pretty amazing to contrast the resilient data we've been seeing with the wall of pessimism this time last year about an imminent crash.

Instead, prices are just 1% lower from November 2022, a far better outcome than the double-digit collapses that were being predicted. Yes, we might get a lot more weakness from here, but, if you read the Halifax data, it seems the doomsayers underestimated how much a dearth of supply in the market would slow down the losses.

The other number that jumps out to me in the report is that average prices are still some £40,000 above pre-pandemic levels. Basically, there's a lot more room to go before we even get wipe out the crazy rally, fuelled by stamp duty cuts and a race for space, that kicked off after the first Covid lockdown.

— David Goodman

For more news and analysis throughout the day, follow Bloomberg UK’s Markets Today blog. 

What’s Next? 

Results from homebuilder Berkeley Group tomorrow will bring us another health-check of UK housing markets — particularly in London and the southeast. 

--With assistance from Alexandria Arnold.

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