Small rise in house prices offsets previous dip as market ‘levels off’

House prices rose by 0.4 per cent in March, offsetting a 0.4 per cent drop the month before.

According to Halifax, the average house price was £192,970 last month, meaning quarterly year-on-year prices were up 8.1 per cent. This continued a steady decline from 8.5 per cent in January and is significantly below the peak of 10.2 per cent in July 2014.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says he expects national house prices to grow by between 3 and 5 per cent this year.

He adds: “The recent return to real earnings growth for the first time in several years, very low mortgage rates and last December’s stamp duty changes are supporting housing demand. 

“The rising level of house prices in relation to earnings should, however, curb house price growth and activity.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says the figures show that the housing market is “levelling off”.

He adds: “There have been suggestions that uncertainty around the general election is stopping people from moving house or looking for a new mortgage deal and this may have contributed to the rate of growth falling.

“However, the recent change in stamp duty rules and the low interest rates available at the moment mean that now is actually a good time to be looking for a new home or mortgage deal despite any election uncertainty. 

“Therefore we don’t expect this trend to last.”