The latest Halifax House Price Index shows that prices are up 0.4% monthly, although they have dropped -0.7% over the quarter. While they are also up 1.8% annually, this is the lowest rate of annual growth since March 2013.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:
“House prices continue to remain broadly flat, as they have since the end of last year. The annual rate of growth has slowed from 2.2% in January to 1.8% in February, the lowest rate of growth since March 2013. “The labour market continues to perform strongly with the number of people in employment rising by 88,000 in the three months to December.
Notably, this is almost entirely accounted for by full-time jobs. The strength of the jobs market may finally be benefitting wage growth, with the annual growth rate accelerating from 2.3% in November to 2.8% in December. However, earnings are rising at a slower rate than consumer prices. “Despite the November rise in the Bank of England Base Rate, mortgage rates continue to stay low by historical standards. While we expect price growth to remain low, the low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should continue to support house prices over the coming months.”
Please find comment below from property expert and Emoov CEO, Russell Quirk.Founder and CEO of Emoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented:
“Despite the marginal increase, prices have continued to stall heading into spring suggesting the usual seasonal market hangover has persisted for a while longer than usual.
That said, we’ve seen a notable pick up in sellers listing their homes for sale across the UK and while still slightly subdued, there is certainly an appetite from the buyer’s side as well. As this increase in stock starts to filter through to actual sales, we will no doubt start to see a stronger, more sustained rate of upward growth.
While Theresa May’s has set out yet more promises to fix our broken housing market earlier in the week, it seems any meaningful resolution is at best a long way off, at worst unlikely to materialise. As a result, prices will remain buoyant in the long term due to the strain on the nation’s property stock levels, coupled with persistent demand from home buyers as a result of the lower barrier to obtaining a mortgage.”
SamMitchell, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, says:
"As the country slowly thaws, there are already signs that market activity is picking up.
"The Halifax is reporting that buyer enquiries have fallen for the tenth consecutive month, but that trend that is unlikely to continue in March as buyers are definitely back, and they are showing more urgency to find somewhere and make offers.
"Now the market needs some momentum as we enter the crucial Spring period, which is historically one of the most buoyant times of year for house purchases.
"Despite reports to the contrary, the market is in pretty good health. Although house price growth is flat, there is nothing to suggest there is a major price correction on the horizon.
"On the ground, buyers know they're in a strong position and are making lower offers and negotiating harder with sellers. And there are plenty of sellers who are recognising that prices have cooled a little and are willing to negotiate with buyers.
"That's a much healthier position than having a stand off between buyers and sellers because no-one wants to budge on price."