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House prices continued to surge upwards last month, the Halifax has reported.
Its latest house price survey puts the increase last month at 1.4 per cent, equating to an annual rate of increase of 8.2 per cent. By its reckoning, the average price of a house in the UK is now £258k.
I found further evidence of a booming market in March HMRC monthly property transactions figures. They showed UK home sales in March 2021 at their highest ever level. Seasonally adjusted, there were 190,980 residential transactions in March 2021, up 32.2 from February.
‘House prices in April eclipsed the record high set the month before as the market continued to maintain its recent momentum’, said Halifax managing director Russell Galley.
‘The stamp duty holiday continues to add impetus to an extremely active market, magnifying the current shortage of available homes as buyers aim to take advantage of the Government scheme. The influence of the stamp duty holiday will fade gradually over the coming months as it’s tapered out but low stock levels, low interest rates and continued demand is likely to continue to underpin prices in the market’.
Galley said the Halifax expected recent levels of activity to be sustained over the short-term as buyers continue to search for homes with more space and potentially better suited for their new working patterns.
‘Savings built up over the months in lockdown have given some buyers even more cash to invest in their dream properties, while the new mortgage guarantee scheme may have eased deposit constraints for some prospective homebuyers who previously thought their first step on the housing ladder was a few years away’.
But Galley said the Halifax remained cautious about the medium-term prospects of the housing market. ‘As we said in March, the current levels of uncertainty and potential for higher unemployment as furlough support ends leads us to believe that house price growth will slow to the end of the year’.