House price growth reaches 4.1%

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Annual house price growth reached 4.1% in January 2020, Halifax’s House Price Index has found.

On a monthly basis prices jumped by by 0.4%, bringing quarterly growth to 2.3%.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “A number of important market indicators continue to show signs of improvement. We have seen a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK economy. However, it’s too early to say if a corner has been turned.

“The recent positive figures may actually represent activity that would ordinarily have been expected to take place last year, but was delayed by economic uncertainty. So while housing market activity has undoubtedly increased over recent months, the extent to which this persists will be driven by housing policy, the wider political environment and trends in the economy.

“Looking ahead, we still expect a moderate rate of house price growth over the course of the year. Demand is likely to continue to exceed the supply of properties for sale across the UK, with the subdued pace of new building also adding to upwards price pressure.

“The environment for mortgage affordability should stay largely favourable. However with the growth in rental costs accelerating, many first-time buyers will continue to face a significant challenge in raising necessary deposits.”

The majority of financial professionals were upbeat regarding the figures.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: “Today’s uplift in figures sets the tone for the so-called “Boris bounce” expected to take effect in the coming months. Property spending is expected to reach record levels this year and first-time buyer activity is already on the up.

“This suggests that buyers are pressing ahead with their plans, and shrugging off any lingering Brexit concerns. Last week, the Bank of England made the decision to hold the base interest rate at 0.75%.

“While interest rates are historically low, there are plenty of competitive mortgage deals available to consumers.

“We hope that this will instil some confidence in the housing and mortgage markets for borrowers.

“If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s important to consider your personal and financial circumstances, and seek advice from a professional to ensure you find the most suitable deal.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “The Halifax numbers are positive and suggest greater confidence in the market, which can be attributed to the economic stability which we gained from a majority Conservative government, and more certainty over Brexit.

“This is the confirmation that many buyers have been waiting for.

“A great sign of positivity is the percentage increase of house sales, which are at their highest levels since 2016, when the uncertainty of a new government and possible referendum on Brexit loomed large, along with changes in stamp duty, which acted as a drag on transactional volumes.

“However, we can’t jump and down just yet, believing that the market has fully recovered. We need more transactions and sellers with an appetite to sell because there are buyers waiting in the wings.”

Guy Harrington, chief executive of lender Glenhawk, said: “In the short term it’s full steam ahead, with consumer enthusiasm continuing following December’s general election result, supported by favourable fiscal policy.

“However, we are not out of the woods yet: the UK economy could see some turbulence later this year that will likely temper this return to growth, as we continue to negotiate our exit from the EU, whilst supply constraints will remain until we see meaningful government action.”

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