3rd March 2016
While Nationwide has reported that house prices rose 0.3% month-on-month in February, numbers from the Halifax show that growth retreated over the period.
The Halifax said that house prices fell back 1.4% month-on-month in February after sharp increases of 1.7% in January and 2% in December.
On the Halifax’s measure, the year-on-year increase in house prices remained at 9.7% in the three months to February – equal to the highest rate since August 2014, and up from 9.0% in the three months to November.
Separately Nationwide figures showed the annual pace of growth hit a more modest 10-month high of 4.8% in February.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight said that given the contrast between the Halifax and Nationwide data, it highlights the importance of not pinning too much weight on one particular house price survey or measure, but to look at the overall picture.
The lenders’ numbers follow in from the Bank of England reporting that mortgage approvals for house purchases rose markedly to a two-year high of 74,581 in January from 71,355 in December.
The British Bankers’ Association has also reported that mortgage activity is being lifted appreciably by buy-to-let investors and second home-buyers looking to make a purchase before April’s rise in Stamp Duty for the sectors.
Archer said: “We expect house prices to rise by around 6% over 2016 amid reasonably healthy buyer interest (which could well be fuelled by increased expectations that interest rates will not rise this year) and a relative shortage of properties.”