Property industry reacts to latest house price data

11th April 2023
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Reported by MARC DA SILVA Property Industry Eye

UK house prices increased unexpectedly last month, the latest data from Halifax shows, bucking the falling trend elsewhere in the property market.

The latest house price figures suggest that the market may be boosted by the recent easing of mortgage borrowing rates and the tight labour market.

House prices increased by 0.8% between February and March, data showed on Thursday, which surprised many economists, with most experts expecting property prices to fall.

Property prices in March were up 1.6% compared with the corresponding month last year, down from a 2.1% expansion registered in February and the weakest rate since October 2019.

Halifax’s house price figures with data from Nationwide, which recorded a 3.1% annual decline in March, the steepest drop since 2009.

Industry reactions:

 

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, commented: “Estate agents are seeing a very steady picture. Whilst winter saw a slight decline in activity and therefore prices, spring brought new activity. This trend is normal as the market flows with seasonal changes in buyer behaviour.

“We have plenty of homes coming to the market which shows sellers are confident and that’s the key. Prices have adjusted to rising interest rates curbing affordability, but as we head into April and May, prices may pick up as more buyers will be on the move.”

 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The slowdown in house prices seems to have levelled off in recent months, with figures showing modest growth despite gloomy forecasts towards the latter end of last year.

“The picture is still mixed as these figures show a brighter prospect for sellers than some other measures of house prices.

“Sales are holding steady and many estate agents are now enjoying the benefit of having more properties on their books following a shortage of stock in the last year. This is good news for buyers, as it gives them more choice and a better chance at securing the right home.

“Despite a significant fall at the end of last year, the price of an average home is now creeping back up to almost £288,000. While this is good news for sellers, many first-time buyers will be disappointed to see prices increase at a time when other household costs are increasing too.

“Buyers must be reassured that now is still a good time to buy, especially as rent levels continue to rise to unaffordable levels in many areas.”

 

Jason Tebb, CEO of OnTheMarket.com, commented: “Average property prices held steady in March, further evidence of the housing market continuing to rebalance in a calm, measured way.

“Our own data supports this, with improvements in both buyer and seller sentiment as the market enters the traditionally busier spring period. Even with rising interest rates and inflation putting pressure on household finances, there is a growing feeling that both are close to their peak, if not there already.

“People need to move regardless, even if the market is more challenging, but sellers need to price realistically and accurately under the guidance of an experienced local agent in order to achieve a timely and successful outcome.”


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