• On a monthly basis, house prices in March were 1.1% higher than in February
  • In the latest quarter (January to March) house prices were 0.3% higher than in the preceding three months (October to December)
  • House prices were 6.5% higher than in March 2020

Key Points

  • Average Price: £254,606
  • Monthly Change: +1.1%
  • Quarterly Change: +0.3%
  • Annual Change: +6.5%

Housing activity

HMRC monthly property transactions data for UK home sales increased in February 2021 to their highest level since March 2007.

Zeus – MPU 2

UK seasonally adjusted residential transactions in February 2021 were 147,050 – up by 23.0% from January (up 26.4% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis).

The latest quarterly transactions (December-February 2021) were approximately 23.3% higher than the preceding three months (September-November 2020). Year on year, transactions were 56.2% higher than February 2020 (41.3% higher on a non-seasonally adjusted basis). (Source: HMRC, seasonally-adjusted figures)

Mortgage approvals fell in February for the third consecutive month.

The latest Bank of England figures show the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases fell in February 2021 by 9.9% to 87,669. Year-on-year, the February figure was 19.5% above February 2020. Source: Bank of England, seasonally-adjusted figures)

Results from the latest (March 2021) RICS Residential Market Survey show sales market activity picking up sharply over the month, with indicators on enquiries, sales and new instructions all improving noticeably compared to February.

New buyer enquiries increased to a net balance of +42%, up from zero in February.

New instructions also improved to a net balance of +22% compared to -28% previously, with agreed sales rising sharply to +50% from +7%. (Source: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) monthly report)

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:

“Following a relatively subdued start to the year, the housing market enjoyed something of a resurgence during March, with prices up by just over 1% compared to February.”

“This rise – the first since November last year – means the average property is now worth £254,606, a new record high.”

“A year on from the early days of the first national lockdown, March’s data shows that house prices rose by 6.5% annually, or £15,430 in cash terms. Casting our minds back 12 months, few could have predicted quite how well the housing market would ride out the impact of the pandemic so far, let alone post growth of more than £1,000 per month on average.”

“The continuation of government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market.”

“The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, whilst for those saving hard to buy their first home, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route onto the property ladder.”

“Overall we expect elevated levels of activity to be maintained in the coming months, with consumer confidence spurred on by the successful vaccine rollout, and buyer demand still fuelled by a desire for larger properties and more outdoor space, as work-life priorities have shifted during the pandemic.”

“A shortage of homes for sale will also support prices in the short term, as lower availability always favours sellers.”

“However, with the economy yet to feel the full effect of its biggest recession in more than 300 years, we remain cautious about the longer-term outlook.”

“Given current levels of uncertainty and the potential for higher unemployment, we still expect house price growth to slow somewhat by the end of this year.”

Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove said:

“According to the latest Halifax House Price Index figures, average house prices in the UK are on the rise again, increasing by 1.1% in March compared to February, currently standing at £254,606.”

“Not only is this 6.5% higher than the same time last year, but average house prices are now at an all-new record high.”

“Although an initial slower start to the year, it appears as though the Stamp Duty Holiday extension has resulted in yet another surge in demand for properties much like we saw in 2020.”

“Moreover, as restrictions begin to hopefully ease over the coming months we don’t expect to see the property market slowing down anytime soon.”

“Ultimately, while the future of the property market beyond the Stamp Duty Holiday remains uncertain throughout 2021, given the extension until the end of June, we expect to see another property market boom in the first half of this year.”

Nick Barnes, Head of Research at Chestertons, says:

“March’s market activity was particularly driven by the stamp duty holiday extension, the successful vaccine roll-out and the partial easing of lockdown restrictions.”

“The market continues to remain extremely buoyant and we anticipate that it will stay busy over the summer and is due to receive a further boost with the introduction of the new mortgage guarantee scheme from 19th April.”

Guy Gittins, CEO of Chestertons, adds:

“As the country emerges from lockdown, we expect moving home will be many people’s top priority.”

“We currently have around 46% more properties on the market for sale than we did this time last year.”

“This is good news for buyers as it means that substantial price increases are relatively unlikely for the time being and that there are generally more homes to choose from.”

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