House prices rose 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: “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.
“The annual rate of house price growth, which has continued to ease in the first quarter of 2015, is forecast to end the year at 3- 5 per cent.”
Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says: “This shows that the market is levelling off after a sustained period of fast growth in 2014. 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 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.”