House price growth accelerated in the year to April 2019, rising to 5 per cent, according to the latest House Price Index from Halifax. This marked the fastest annual recorded price gain in over a year, with prices rising as much as 4.2 per cent in the February-April period compared to the November-January period.

Faster price growth resulted in average house prices rising to £236,619 by April. This rise in prices came after a period of weak growth in 2018. Halifax estimated that average home prices rose just 1.3 per cent on an annual basis by December last year.

Nationwide recorded an increase in first-time buyers in April, in its own House Price Index.

Alan Boswell – MPU

Softer fundamentals

Despite faster growth in average house prices, Halifax noted that demand in the UK housing market remained subdued in April. Halifax referred to data from the Bank of England, which claimed mortgage approvals fell between February and March.

The Bank of England estimated the number of mortgage approvals declined to 62,341 cases in March, below its 5-year average monthly approval rate of 66,134.

Halifax also cited Her Royal Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HRMC) data which claimed home sales rose to 101,830 cases in March, marginally above the 5-year average of 100,959 sales a month. Halifax said this suggested home sales remained “steady”.

A decade of recovery

Halifax noted that April 2019 served as a significant anniversary of the housing market’s journey, following the global financial crisis a decade before.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, explained: “Looking back, this April also marks 10 years since the lowest point of the Halifax Price Index following the financial crash in 2008. Over the past decade, annual house price growth has seen the average price increase by £81,956, or an average rise of 4.3 per cent each year.”

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Steven Taylor
Steven reports on the daily churn of the property news cycle, often reporting on the stories you may have missed during the week. He covers a range of topics, including market sentiment, new findings and announcements by policy-makers.

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