9th April 2015
House prices edged ahead by 0.4% on a monthly basis in March but the annual rate of growth slowed according to new figures from Halifax.
The lender said that over the month property prices were up 8.1% on this time last year – marking a slight drop on the 8.3% annual house price growth registered in February, which itself was below January’s 8.5%
Howard Archer chief UK and European economist of IHS Global Insight, said: “The Halifax data has been notably more volatile than other house price measures in recent months and stronger overall than most. This highlights the volatility that can happen in house prices not only from month to month but from survey to survey.”
Archer however suspects that the weakening of housing market activity has now bottomed out and he expects it to gradually pick up over the coming months.
His suspicion is reinforced by a third successive rise in mortgage approvals for house purchases in February reported by the Bank of England. Specifically, the Bank of England reported that mortgage approvals for house purchases rose to a six-month high of 61,760 in February from 60,707 in January, 60,258 in December and a 17-month low of 58,944 in November.
Mortgage approvals had previously retreated for five successive months to November’s low from 66,181 in June and a 74-month high of 75,453 in January 2014.
“It is also notable that in the Bank of England’s latest credit conditions survey released in early-April, lenders expect demand for mortgages to pick up in the second quarter,” added Archer.
“With housing market activity seen gradually picking up over the coming months, we forecast house prices to rise by around 5% in 2015.”