House prices increased notably in the three months to April, marking the fastest annual growth rate in more than two years, according to the recent Halifax House Price Index.
In the three months to April, prices were five per cent than in the same period last year, showing the fastest annual growth rate since February 2017. On a quarterly basis, prices from February to April were 4.2 per cent up on the previous three months, according to the House Price Index.
Halifax put the current average property price in the UK at £236,619. In April 2009 the average value of house prices was £154,663, reaching its lowest point in recent years off the back of the 2008 financial crisis.
Rise from a low base
The sharp rise in this April’s annual change figure partly reflected the particularly low growth rate in the same period last year, which impacted year-on-year comparisons. This also includes the impact on strong growth in February 2019, which was driven by a higher volume of London sales and more expensive new build properties, Halifax said.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, commented that the property sector saw a 1.1 per cent monthly rise in April on average UK house prices, while demand and supply in housing remained subdued for another month.
Since September 2013, the sales-to-stock ratio of 31.4 per cent is currently at its lowest rate. Price and sales expectations saw a minor improvement. However, the expectations remain negative.
Mr Galley stated: “The index has seen a weaker pace of growth other the last three years, which is consistent with the easing of transactions volumes and housing market activity reflected in RICS, Bank of England and HMRC figures.”
UK property sales remain steady
Monthly UK home sales remained steady with a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent, when sales in January to March were compared with figures in October to December 2018. March home sales were 2.8 per cent above the previous 12 month average.
The number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases saw a drop of 4.6 per cent to 62,341. The rate in March was 3,793 below the five-year average monthly approval rate of 66,134 and 2,852 below the previous 12-month average of 65,193.
Mr Galley added that April 2019 marks 10 years since the lowest point of the Halifax House Price Index, following the financial crash in 2008. Over the past decade, annual house price growth saw the average price increase by £81,956 – an average rise of 4.3 per cent each year.