Annual House Price Growth Remains Stable

Annual house price growth has remained unchanged at 3.8 per cent, according to the latest index from Halifax.

House prices have stabilised in 2017, despite annual house price growth being on the rise. Prices in the three months until April were down 0.2 per cent on the previous quarter. This marked the first quarterly fall since November 2012.

The annual growth was also unremarkable, at the lowest yearly rate since May 2013 (2.6 per cent). This was a sizeable comedown from the peak of 10 per cent in March 2016. House prices also fell 0.1 per cent between March and April continuing their trend of little change.

However, market activity has remained strong. Sales in March were similar to those of January and February at 102,810. Furthermore, sales in the first quarter of 2017 saw a marked increase of 6 per cent on the final quarter of 2016.

Supply remains low, with the number of properties entering the market down for the 13th consecutive month in March. This factor was attributed to a decline in the average stock levels on estate agent’s books, which reached historic lows.

Halifax housing economist, Martin Ellis, said: ‘House prices have stagnated over the past three months. Overall, prices in the three months to April were marginally lower than in the preceding three months; the first quarterly decline since November 2012. The annual rate of growth remained at 3.8 per cent in April, the lowest rate since May 2013. Housing demand appears to have been curbed in recent months due to the deterioration in housing affordability caused by a sustained period of rapid house price growth during 2014-16. Signs of a decline in the pace of job creation, and the beginnings of a squeeze on households’ finances as a result of increasing inflation, may also be constraining the demand for homes. Continuing very low mortgage rates, together with an ongoing acute shortage of properties for sale, should nonetheless underpin house prices over the coming months.’

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