Figures from March’s Halifax House Price Index reveal a slight increase in the annual house price compared to the previous year before the market was effectively suspended.
House prices throughout the UK rose by 3%, compared to last years figures, with the monthly statistics showing no movement.
Commenting on this months figures, Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: “The UK housing market began March with similar trends to previous months, as key market indicators showed a sustained level of buyer and seller activity. Overall average house prices in the month were little changed from February’s record high, while annual growth nudged up to 3%.
“These factors all underlined a positive trajectory and increased momentum in the early part of the year, with confidence rising as political and economic uncertainty eased. However, it’s clear we ended the month in very different territory as a result of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
In light of the current market suspension, figures for April’s House Price Index will make for bleaker reading as the country endures its first full month of lockdown.
However, with no end seemingly in sight to the spread of the coronavirus, only time will tell what the property sector will look like in the months after the market reopens.
Russel adds: “On a practical level, most market activity has been paused, with the public rightly following the advice to stay at home, and estate agencies, surveyors and conveyancers temporarily closing as a result. With viewings cancelled and movers being encouraged to put transactions on hold, activity will inevitably fall sharply in the coming months. It should be noted that with less data available, calculating average house prices is likely to become more challenging in the short-term.
“However, it’s still too early to properly assess what potential long-term impacts the current lockdown might have on the UK housing market. While there is very significant uncertainty at the moment, much will depend on the length of time it takes for restrictions to be lifted, the pressure that has been exerted on the economy in the meantime and the effect this has on consumer sentiment.
“Lenders have stepped up to offer their support, giving customers up to an additional three months to complete their home purchase at the agreed mortgage rate, alongside payment holidays for existing customers. We continue to have confidence in the fundamental strength of the housing market and remain ready and willing to lend on new mortgages, as well as product transfers and further advances, wherever
and whenever there is demand.”