Business: House price boost of 5.9% in February

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Average UK house prices rose by 5.9% in February, a significant uplift from January’s 0.6% fall, said Halifax.

The rise takes the average price of property to £236,800.

The annual change in house price inflation was far more muted at 2.8%, up from last month’s 0.8%, but low when you consider that house price inflation in 2015 and 2017 hit 8.3%.

In the latest quarter (December – February) house prices were 1.8% higher than in the preceding three months (September – November), said the lender.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “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.

“The shortage of houses for sale will certainly be playing a role in supporting prices. House price growth is now at 1.8%, an increase from the 0.6% fall last month, and back at the rate we saw from July to September 2018.

“People are still facing challenges in raising a deposit which means we continue to expect subdued price growth for the time being. 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.”

Andrew Montlake, director of mortgage broker, Coreco, added: “What the February data underlines is that the lack of homes on the market, and broader supply deficit, have the potential to mitigate the impact of Brexit on house prices.

“There’s all manner of political uncertainty at present but when it comes to house prices, the lack of supply could prove the property market’s trump card.

“Sellers should not see this as a pretext to raise their prices, however. One month does not a market make.

“Despite the sharp monthly rise, this is still very much a buyers’ market. Sellers need to be realistic if they want to sell and the majority now accept that.”

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