House prices up 4.2% from last quarter

Michael Lloyd

May 8, 2019

In the latest quarter, February to April, house prices were 4.2% higher than in the preceding three months, November to January, the Halifax House Price Index has found.

Meanwhile on a monthly basis, house prices rose by 1.1%, versus a fall of 1.3% March.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “The average UK house price now stands at £236,619 following a 1.1% monthly rise in April, as demand and supply of housing remained subdued for another month.

“The index has seen a weaker pace of growth over the last three years, which is consistent with the easing of transactions volumes and housing market activity reflected in RICS, Bank of England and HMRC figures.

“Looking further back, this April also marks 10-years since the lowest point of the Halifax house price index following the financial crash in 2008.

“Over the past decade annual house price growth has seen the average price increase by £81,956, or an average rise of 4.3% each year.”

The average house price is now £236,619. In April 2009 average house prices were £154,663 – the low point following the 2008 financial crash. Since there has been an increase of £81,956, which reflects a 4.3% average annual increase.

Monthly UK home sales remain steady. March saw 101,830 home sales, which, as for February, was very close to the five-year average of 100,959.

When comparing sales in January to March, against October to December there is a 0.3% rise. March home sales were 2.8% above the previous 12-month average.

Mortgage approvals fell again from February to March to a level below the 12 month and five-year averages.

Bank of England industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases –a leading indicator of completed house sales fell by 4.6% to 62,341.

Demand for and supply of housing remains subdued for another month. The RICS UK Residential Market Survey again showed a subdued result for nearly every measure again. The sales to stock ratio of 31.4% is now at its lowest rate since September 2013.

Price expectations and sales expectations showed a small improvement, for the second month running, but both expectations remained firmly negative.

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, added: “These numbers are encouraging, reflecting that people are now coming to the conclusion that whatever will be will be with Brexit and they just want to get on with things.

“There is a positive attitude out there from estate agents to valuers to lenders – everyone is busier with transactions, just as you would expect for this time of year.

“Those people who have been looking to buy for a while are now realising that the opportunity to move now is as good as any.

“Mortgage rates are extremely low and interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon, even though Mark Carney has been warning that it could happen in the future. Longer fixes are looking attractive for those families who need to move on and want some security from potential rate rises in a few years.

“When we get to October and Brexit looms again, transactions will probably fall off again as jitters return. But for now, with Brexit kicked into the distance, people are transacting and getting on with their lives.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The lack of supply and properties coming to the market is most likely continuing to support property prices, while cheap mortgage rates continue to attract those who are ready to take the plunge.”

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