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House prices dip by 0.6%



Average property prices fell by 0.6% between March and April, Halifax’s House Price Index has revealed.

Prices averaged £238,511 in April, after mortgage approvals fell by 24% between February and April.

Annual growth still stands at 2.7%.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Lockdown restrictions are rendering these and other housing market surveys fairly meaningless.

“It is only when you look behind the figures that a more interesting picture emerges – in other words, what we are seeing on the ground are previously agreed sales proceeding to exchange and completion without price renegotiation and a buildup of browsing interest as buyers and sellers ready themselves for easing of restrictions.

“Buyers and sellers are also taking advantage of interest rates remaining low for the foreseeable future.

“Overall, we are being told that transactions are stalled and will be revisited as soon as it is safe to do so and particularly surveyors and removers are able to gain access to properties.”

Paresh Raja, chief executive of Market Financial Solutions, said: “In my opinion, this short-term fall in house price growth is likely to open new opportunities.

“Given the drop has been nowhere near as bad as initially predicted, buying a property now could result in notable price growth once COVID-19 has passed and the market recovers. After all, history has shown that the property market is able to bounce back quickly from crises.

“The challenge for buyers, however, is finding lenders who are still receiving new loan applications and have the resources to undertake on site valuations. As a result, I’d expect to see a general increase in the number of buyers looking beyond high street banks to specialist lenders for loans during this pandemic.”

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