The latest house price index from Halifax shows the UK’s house price growth rate has slowed to 1.8% in the three months to February, the lowest since March 2013, although February’s month-on-month house prices edged up by 0.4%.
The average property price in the UK is now £224,353 according to Halifax’s latest figures, a dip of £2,055 since November’s index, with the rate of growth slowing from 2.2% in the three months to January down to 1.8% in February. However, the month from January to February saw prices pick up by 0.4%, which Halifax attributed to factors including high employment levels and low mortgage rates supporting house prices.
Last week, Nationwide released its index painting a similar picture, although it registered a slight monthly fall of 0.3% and set average house prices at a slightly lower £210,402.
Slow but steady growth
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Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “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 benefiting wage growth, with the annual growth rate accelerating from 2.3% in November to 2.8% in December.”
However, he added that 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.”
The flattening of house prices could prove to be good news for those hoping to buy a first property, or even those looking to move move house, as lower pricing opens up more options for many, which should keep the housing market relatively active in the coming months.