Various trade experts have commented following the release of the latest Nationwide house price index figures which showed that house prices fell by 0.2% in March:

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: “What happens next with mortgage rates could have a significant impact on property market activity and ultimately house prices.

Buyers and sellers have been more active since the start of the year as it looks as though base rate has peaked, and the next move in rates will be downwards. However, affordability is still an issue for many, thanks to many consecutive rises in base rate before we got to this point, along with the elevated cost of living, particularly energy costs and food.

LIS Show – MPU

“There are likely to be ups and downs in mortgage pricing in the weeks and months ahead as lenders jostle for position and business but there is a growing feeling of optimism that the situation is improving overall, which will be welcomed by hard-pressed borrowers.”

Amy Reynolds, head of sales at Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, says: “The persistent supply/demand imbalance, which is particularly evident across London, along with better mortgage rates since the turn of the year, are supporting overall market strength and stability. 

“In line with what we are seeing on the ground, Nationwide’s latest house price index points to an upwards trajectory in property prices. 

“The sales market continues to pick up some momentum with committed buyers and a strong pipeline of serious applicants boding well for the spring market.”

Kate Steere, housing expert at personal finance comparison site finder.com said: Today’s figures show that we’re not out of the woods yet. Lenders have cut mortgage rates and wage growth has outstripped inflation, but buyers are still concerned about affordability issues and demand has been dampened as a result. The Bank of England’s decision to hold rates has tempered house price recovery. Meanwhile, half of experts believe that the Bank will wait until June 2024 before cutting rates, meaning we’re likely to see only a subdued recovery in house prices in the next couple of months.”  

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “Though only a modest rise, we again see the housing market demonstrating its resilience, bearing in mind these figures do not include cash purchases which make up around 40 per cent of the total. 

“Price movements are important, especially in such a long-established report, as they have a significant impact on buyer confidence. 

 “We are finding in our offices that prices are fairly steady, mainly down to hard bargaining and more choice than any big change one way or the other.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: “Another rise in house prices underlines the confidence being felt in the market.

“Stable interest rates, more favourable mortgage rates than this time last year and less than half the inflation, are persuading buyers that it is time to make their move as the traditionally busier spring market picks up.

“All-important transaction numbers are also rising, albeit from a low base, demonstrating increased confidence among buyers that the worst of the uncertainty and market turmoil may be behind us. Transactional volumes should increase further as sellers take advantage of this stability.”

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of sustainable investment adviser GreenResi, says“With UK house prices increasing by 1.6 per cent annually in March, this is positive news for many, as upwards movement in the housing market is generally seen as a good thing. 

“However, the housing market is not one single market – it’s millions of tiny locations down to the street level, each becoming more or less popular over time, influenced by different factors ranging from local authority solvency to new local development schemes.

“Then there’s factors affecting the pricing of individual properties, including the cost to own the property, partly related to its energy efficiency; cost to maintain the property; and affordability, which for younger people especially is determined by the cost and availability of finance.

 “So, market pricing for March reflects the millions of individual negotiations balancing what one buyer wanted with what one seller needed, during that month. All of these factors and more are important when evaluating properties today and forecasting what will happen with prices tomorrow.”

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