House price growth has more than halved to a four-year low, says Halifax
The average house now costs £219,755, according to Halifax
Lauren Davidson, Property Editor
House price growth has more than halved in the last year to its lowest rate in almost four years, according to Halifax.
The lender's latest house price index showed that property prices were 3.8pc higher in March than in the same month last year, the smallest annual increase since May 2013.
This was down from an annual growth of 5.1pc in February and far below the peak of 10pc reached in March 2016. The average house now costs £219,755.
"A lengthy period of rapid house price growth has made it increasingly difficult for many to purchase a home as income growth has failed to keep up, which appears to have curbed housing demand," said Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist.
“Nonetheless, the supply of both new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low. This, together with historically very low mortgage rates, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months.”
The number of properties coming on to the market fell for the 12th consecutive month in February, according to the recent report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).
“These statistics are no surprise. There is widespread caution about the future of our economy following the triggering of Article 50, which in turn seeps into the housing market," said Simon Gerrard, managing director of estate agency Martyn Gerrard and former president of the National Association of Estate Agents.
"Supply is unlikely to increase dramatically in the near future, so prices will remain steady with a gradual increase and there is less risk involved."
Recent figures from the HMRC show that home sales slipped 1pc in February from January in the first monthly decline in five months. The 103,910 transactions in February were 2pc lower than a year earlier.
"The market had shown positive signs out of the blocks for 2017 but it would seem these green shoots of upward property price growth have stalled in the early springtime frost of Article 50," said Russell Quirk, chief executive of property website eMoov.
"The triggering of Article 50 may lead to some further uncertainty in the market as once again UK buyers let the dust settle before committing to a property sale. But this should soon subside and it is likely that the initial upward trend in property price growth seen at the start of the year will continue to blossom over the coming months."