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House price growth jumps to 5% in April

Antonia Di Lorenzo
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Antonia Di Lorenzo

The rate of annual house price growth rose to 5% in April, with the average UK house price standing at £236,619, while demand and supply remained subdued for another month.

House prices rose by 1.1% in April after a fall of 1.3% in March, according to the latest figures released by Halifax.

The report found that in the three months to April house prices were 4.2% higher than in the previous quarter.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “This April marks 10 years since the lowest point of the Halifax house price index following the financial crash in 2008.

“Over the past decade annual house price growth has seen the average price increase by £81,956, or an average rise of 4.3% each year.”

Positive attitude from estate agents

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said the numbers were encouraging, reflecting the fact that people are putting the uncertainty of Brexit to one side.

He said: “There is a positive attitude out there from estate agents to valuers to lenders – everyone is busier with transactions, just as you would expect for this time of year.

“Those people who have been looking to buy for a while are realising that the opportunity to move now is as good as any.

“Mortgage rates are extremely low and interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon, even though Mark Carney has been warning that it could happen in the future. Longer fixes are looking attractive for those families who need to move on and want some security from potential rate rises in a few years.

“When we get to October and Brexit looms again, transactions will probably fall off again as jitters return. But for now, with Brexit kicked into the distance, people are transacting and getting on with their lives.”

House prices rising again

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at online estate agent Yopa, said that there had been a sharp up-turn in house prices.

He said: “Virtually all of the annual growth occurred over the past three months. Other indicators have shown a return to house price growth following a virtual standstill in the last quarter of 2018, but this is the highest rate of growth that has been reported for some time.

“This large increase is partly because the same period in 2018 was affected by the snow and ice caused by the ‘Beast from the East’, which depressed housing market activity and prices.

“However, it does seem safe to say that house prices are rising again, although the underlying rate of growth is probably not as high as 5% per year. With the number of house sales holding up well, house price growth for the whole of 2019 may well exceed most forecasts, which were generally somewhere between zero and four per cent.”