Halifax: House prices up 2.8% annually
House prices increased by 2.8% in the year to February, according to Halifax’s house price index.
On a monthly basis, house prices increased by 0.3%.
Looking at the data on a quarterly basis, house prices rose by 2.9%.
Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “The UK housing market has remained steady heading into early spring.
“Much like we saw in January, the increases seen in February reflect the continued improvement of key market indicators.
“The sustained level of buyer and seller activity is strong compared to recent years, with positive employment conditions and a competitive mortgage market continuing to support demand.
“Looking ahead, there are a number of risks, including the potential impact of coronavirus, which continue to exert pressure on the economy, and we wait to see how these will affect housing market sentiment later in the year.”
Ben Johnston, director of off-market property app Houso, added: “House prices are on a continued upwards trajectory, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact the unexpected hurdle of Coronavirus is going to have on the market.
“The Bank of England could feasibly follow the Federal Reserve with a rate cut to help markets and shore up the stagnating economy in an effort to prevent other businesses going the way of FlyBe.
“Next week’s Budget gives the government the chance to stimulate growth further by reducing stamp duty although this might not be enough until the Coronavirus has stabilised and the threat has diminished.
“That all-too-precious confidence, which is so important for the market, is hanging in the balance.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder director, James Pendleton, said: “It’s no surprise to see continued healthy price growth like this. Demand and supply have both been rebounding recently but, so far, the number of new buyers is definitely outpacing the return of sellers.
“Coronavirus impacted our business for the first time on Wednesday, stealing away a sale that was just days from exchanging.
“The buyer worked in the events industry which is being rocked by large numbers of cancellations. He was unfortunately one of the employees told his job was at risk, forcing him to pull out of the purchase completely. The hope is this will remain an isolated case, but the impact of the virus will become clearer in March.
“For now, with valuations still rising and competition for certain properties still fierce, buyers have begun to put in offers on multiple properties in a bid to secure an option before stalling over exchange of contracts in case something better comes along. This could create an unappealing log jam and put more completions at risk if Covid-19 starts to become a major factor.
“Despite the newspaper and TV screens being peppered with images of people wearing face masks and plastic bottles on their heads, there’s still a huge appetite to move, and buyers and vendors have so far refused to put their searches on hold.”