Sluggish house price growth drops to a five-year low, figures suggest

House prices are now growing at the slowest rate for almost five years, Halifax data suggests.

The February Halifax House Price Index shows annual growth slowed to 1.8% last month, the slowest rate since the 1.1% recorded in March 2013.

The rate of annual growth was down from the 2.2% recorded in January, but was up marginally on a monthly basis by 0.4%, reversing two consecutive months of decline.

This put average UK property prices at £224,353 for February.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “House prices continue to remain broadly flat, as they have since the end of last year.

“The annual rate of growth has slowed from 2.2% in January to 1.8% in February, the lowest rate of growth since March 2013.

“Despite the November rise in the Bank of England Base Rate, mortgage rates continue to stay low by historical standards.

“While we expect price growth to remain low, the low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should continue to support house prices over the coming months.”

Commenting on the figures, Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “Despite its brisk start to the year, the market has slipped back into its familiar pattern of tantalising inertia – two steps forward, one step back.

“The comparatively benign economic conditions mean there is a steady stream of would-be buyers, but the sudden spell of Arctic weather that hit the country at the end of February meant many struggled to get out of their own front door, let alone get through someone else’s.

“But the current sluggishness cannot be dismissed as the mere side effect of the extreme weather – there’s a real danger that slowness could turn to stagnation.

“The next month should be decisive. Bank of England data shows mortgage approvals are strong – suggesting there are plenty of people with the financial firepower to buy. And Easter traditionally marks the start of the spring rush.

“But if those mortgage approvals fail to convert into sales, and if the spring boost fails to materialise, then serious questions will have to be asked about the market’s resilience to Brexit uncertainty.”


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One Comment

  1. NewsBoy

    It looks as though Halifax and Nationwide appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet for once.  Not really good news.


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