House price growth flat in three months to April: Halifax

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UK house price rises were 3.8 per cent higher in the three months to April when compared to the same period last year, according to seasonally adjusted figures from Halifax.

The price rise was equivalent to annual growth of 3.8 per cent recorded by the Halifax House Price Index in the three months to March.

House prices in the three months to April were found to be 0.2 per cent lower than in the preceding quarter, the first quarterly decline since November 2012. A drop in prices of 0.1 per cent was recorded on a monthly basis between March and April.

Of the latest figures, Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says: “House prices have stagnated over the past three months. The annual rate of growth remained at 3.8 per cent in April, the lowest rate since May 2013.

“Housing demand appears to have been curbed in recent months due to the deterioration in housing affordability caused by a sustained period of rapid house price growth during 2014-16.

“Signs of a decline in the pace of job creation, and the beginnings of a squeeze on households’ finances as a result of increasing inflation, may also be constraining the demand for homes.

“Continuing very low mortgage rates, together with an ongoing acute shortage of properties for sale, should nonetheless underpin house prices over the coming months.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says: “Today’s reduction in momentum for house price inflation is not necessary a bad sign for our housing market. It is all too easy to become preoccupied with these monthly fluctuations but what remains unchanged is the staggering gap between house price inflation and wage inflation.

“With the General Election on the horizon, it is important that the progress our current Government has made with the Housing White Paper does not fall down the priority list. Whatever the outcome, tackling our nation’s housing shortage needs to be at the top of the agenda for all political parties. The General Election provides the perfect opportunity for the successful party to truly make their mark and restructure of housing market once and for all.”