Halifax ‘cautious’ about house price outlook

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Disagreeing with its rival mortgage company, Halifax found house prices went up last month.

While Nationwide’s March House Price Index found a fall of 0.2 per cent on the month, Halifax reported  a 1.1 per cent rise. Halifax was also more bullish on the annual rate of house price inflation, putting this at 6.5 per cent, compared to Nationwide’s 5.7 per cent.

‘Following a relatively subdued start to the year, the housing market enjoyed something of a resurgence during March’, commented Halifax managing director Russell Galley.

 ‘A year on from the early days of the first national lockdown, March’s data shows that house prices rose by 6.5 per cent annually, or £15,430 in cash terms. Casting our minds back 12 months, few could have predicted quite how well the housing market would ride out the impact of the pandemic so far, let alone post growth of more than £1,000 per month on average.

‘The continuation of government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market. The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, whilst for those saving hard to buy their first home, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route onto the property ladder.

 ‘Overall we expect elevated levels of activity to be maintained in the coming months, with consumer confidence spurred on by the successful vaccine rollout, and buyer demand still fuelled by a desire for larger properties and more outdoor space’.

However, Galley said that with the economy yet to feel the full effect of its biggest recession in more than 300 years, ‘we remain cautious about the longer-term outlook. Given current levels of uncertainty and the potential for higher unemployment, we still expect house price growth to slow somewhat by the end of this year’