UK house prices fell by 1pc in March

Nia Williams

March 29, 2012

This is according to the Nationwide’s latest house price index which shows the price of a typical home is now £163,327.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The price of a typical UK home fell by 1% in March, pushing the year on year rate of house price growth into negative territory for the first time in six months

“House prices were 0.9% lower than March 2011.

“A slowdown was to be expected, given the imminent expiry of the stamp duty holiday, which had provided a temporary boost to house prices in early 2012 as buyers brought forward purchases that would otherwise have taken place later in the year.

“This dampening effect on housing market activity and prices may fade over the course of the summer, especially if the wider economic outlook begins to improve and other policy measures, such as the Government’s NewBuy scheme are successful in supporting buyer demand.

“However, in our view the challenging economic backdrop is likely to continue to act as a drag, with house prices moving sideways or modestly lower over the next twelve months.”

Nicholas Ayre, director of UK buying agents, Home Fusion, agreed that stamp duty did play a part in the slowdown: “The stamp duty hangover kicked in before the holiday had even ended.

“Prices rose by 0.6% in February to fall by 1% in March. That’s a thumping headache.

“Will NewBuy will be the paracetamol the property market needs?

“While the end of the stamp duty holiday doubtless contributed to the sharp decline in March, prices generally are being violently buffeted by the extreme shortage of stock.

“Annual prices are back in the red for the first time in six months but, hand on heart, that’s probably where they belong.

“This week’s downward revision in Q4 GDP drives home that the economy is still treading on very thin ice.

“It’s a fair assessment that overall prices will move sideways and modestly lower over the course of the next year.

“But as ever, certain areas will defy economic conditions and prove robust, while other areas will go into freefall.”

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