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House prices rebound almost 6% in February

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House prices have grown on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis for the first time since October 2018, taking the average house price to £236,800, data has shown.

In the three months leading to February, house prices were 2.8 per cent higher than in the same three months a year earlier, up from the 0.8 per cent annual growth rate recorded in January, Halifax’s house price index revealed.

In the latest quarter from December to February, house prices were 1.8% higher than in the preceding three months, while prices rose by 5.9% in February from January’s figures.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said that with buyers still facing challenges in raising a deposit the lender continues to expect subdued price growth for the time being.

He added: “However, the number of sales in January was right on the five year average and, at over 100,000 for the fifth consecutive month, the overall resilience of the market is still evident.”

Increase in price growth

Tomer Aboody, director of specialist lender MT Finance, said that with all the uncertainty around Brexit it is “pleasantly surprising” to see the resilience of UK house prices.

He said: “While properties might sit on the market a bit longer, those that have steered clear of inflated valuations are selling, and there is a substantial appetite for properties which are priced correctly.

“There is far more demand than supply in the UK housing market which should curtail any dramatic fall in pricing and act as an antidote to any potential fallout caused by the Brexit saga, keeping the property market active.

“Going forward, we don’t foresee a vast increase in property prices, unless stamp duty is reduced and demand therefore increases.”

Local factors

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) residential chairman, said: “The increases across the board are certainly welcome and particularly the reference to transaction numbers keeping up with the five-year average but there is no doubt that the shortage of supply is a significant factor in the uplift.

“The reasons behind it are certainly not just to do with Brexit as we consistently hear on the doorsteps – affordability and tough lending criteria as other factors. Local factors are also highly relevant and activity varies quite a bit from area to area.

“Looking forward, we expect to see more of the same and hopefully a more balanced market, particularly if negotiations on EU withdrawal begin to make some progress.”

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