Halifax House Price Index shows bright forecast

House prices from January to March this year were 2.3 per cent higher than in the final quarter of 2013.

The Halifax House Price Index (HHPI) also found that prices in the three months to March were 8.7% higher than in the same three months a year earlier, continuing the upward trend in the annual rate, despite a monthly dip from of -1.1% in March, which was only the third monthly decline in the past fifteen months, compared to eight price falls in the 15 months previous.

Home sales were on an upward trend with February seeing an increase for the tenth successive month to 108,940, a 32 per cent rise from February 2013, which the Halifax took from the HMRC’s seasonally-adjusted figures.

Monthly mortgage approvals are reported to have eased slightly, with February seeing 70,309 approvals for house purchases, 8 per cent lower than in January, however the annual rate has increased, with mortgage approvals 34 per cent higher than the year before, which the Halifax took from the Bank of England’s seasonally-adjusted figures.

The UK’s longest running monthly house price series attributed the pressure on house prices to the lack of supply, which has already been widely commented upon in the wider media.

Drawing on research carried out by the RICS survey, the data highlights that the number of homeowners providing instructions to put their property on the market for sale has continued to decline since the end of 2013 and while new buyer enquiries have also fallen since the start of the year the imbalance between housing supply and demand remains.

Using research from DCLG, the latest housebuilding figures are reported in the HHPI to be showing signs of improvement, with the number of housing starts in England in 2013 rising by 24 per cent to 98,610 from a year earlier, however, the numbers of homes completed saw a marginal fall of 2 per cent to 87,000 during the same period.

Mortgages Director, Stephen Noakes, said: ‘Housing demand continues to be supported by an improving economic outlook, growth in employment, rising consumer confidence and low interest rates.

‘The recent strengthening in house price is increasing the amount of equity that many homeowners have in their home. This will potentially encourage and enable more owners to put their property on the market for sale over the coming year, therefore boosting supply and easing pressure on prices.’

Andy Knee, Chief Executive of Legal Marketing Services, one of the UK’s largest providers of outsourced property services also commented: ‘The increase of home sales for the 10th successive month not only points to the increased confidence of buyers — galvanised by an ever improving economic picture — but also growing fluidity and mobility across the market, in part down to Help to Buy facilitating vast numbers to take their first steps onto the property ladder.

‘However, building upon and sustaining momentum remains a key question and will be a true test of the next phase of recovery this year. The Chancellor has already unlocked funding for new housing projects, but it is vital that these move from rhetoric to reality — creating the much needed supply to meet the demand from aspiring homeowners.’

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