House prices 'unchanged' in March, new reports show

House prices 'unchanged' in March, new reports show [Photo: iStock/Pogonici]

House prices in 2017 remain up year-on-year, but only grew slightly in the first quarter of the year, with March rounding off what was largely a flat Q1 for the sector in terms of house price increases. 

When compared to last year, according to the latest report published this week by the Halifax, house prices are still up by 3.8 per cent as of the end of March, but the nationwide average of some £219,755 is only slightly higher than at the end of 2016. 

Halifax data shows that as of the end of March, prices were unchanged when compared to February, which meant that over the course of the first three months of the year, they have climbed by just 0.1 per cent. 

This is no doubt something to do with the looming Brexit process, with buyers and sellers alike unsure of what the market would bring nationwide in the build up to Theresa May's triggering of Article 50 at the end of March. 

It means that this is the lowest quarterly rise seen in the UK since October of last year, and while there are still increases when compared to 12 months ago, this data still indicates that annual rate of growth remains at its lowest since May of 2013. This is particularly out of character at this time of the year, when house prices normally start to accelerate. 

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said of the latest data: "The annual rate of house price growth has more than halved over the past 12 months. A lengthy period of rapid house price growth has made it increasingly difficult for many to purchase a home as income growth has failed to keep up, which appears to have curbed housing demand."

However, he did also say that the low levels of supply in terms of both new and existing homes means that the market will probably be able to sustain prices for months to come, and not see any significant backwards momentum.