Annual house price growth eased to 9.2% from 10.1% in March, and the quarterly rate of growth halved to 1.5% from 2.9% last month.The average UK property now stands at £212,321.
Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “Current market conditions remain very tight as the severe imbalance between supply and demand persists. This situation, combined with low interest rates and rising employment and real earnings, should continue to push house prices up over the coming months.”
Confidence in the UK housing market is at its lowest level in over a year, according to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker. The latest fall continues the downward trend since a high point in May 2015, and comes as consumers feel increasingly uncertain about the wider economy.
“Weakening sentiment regarding house price prospects and a dip in consumer confidence suggest that annual house price growth may ease,” said Ellis.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders, said the housing market was adjusting to a new normal: “Starved of the Stamp Duty stimulus, double-digit annual price rises are unlikely to return any time soon.
“However, the sudden cooling of the market may mark an opportunity for buyers, as some sellers are being forced to reassess their overly ambitious asking prices.
“For the first time in more than a year, we’re seeing many mid-range properties in the most desirable locations selling for below asking price – hinting that the power dynamic is shifting from a seller’s to a buyer’s market.”