House prices rose by 1.1 per cent in April after a fall of 1.3 per cent in March, according to the latest figures released by Halifax.
The report found that in the latest quarter to April house prices were 4.2 per cent higher than in the three months up to January.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said that the index has seen a weaker pace of growth over the last three years, which is consistent with the easing of transactions volumes and housing market activity reflected in figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Bank of England and HM Revenue & Customs.
He added: “Looking further back, this April also marks 10 years since the lowest point of the Halifax house price index following the financial crash in 2008.
“Over the past decade annual house price growth has seen the average price increase by £81,956, or an average rise of 4.3 per cent each year.”
Positive attitude from estate agents
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said the numbers were encouraging, reflecting the fact that people are putting the uncertainty of Brexit to one side so that they can just get on with things.
He added: “There is a positive attitude out there from estate agents to valuers to lenders – everyone is busier with transactions, just as you would expect for this time of year.
“Those people who have been looking to buy for a while are realising that the opportunity to move now is as good as any.
“Mortgage rates are extremely low and interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon, even though Mark Carney has been warning that it could happen in the future. Longer fixes are looking attractive for those families who need to move on and want some security from potential rate rises in a few years.
“When we get to October and Brexit looms again, transactions will probably fall off again as jitters return. But for now, with Brexit kicked into the distance, people are transacting and getting on with their lives.”
House prices rising again
Mike Scott, chief property analyst at online estate agent Yopa, said that there had been a sharp up-turn in house prices.
He added: “Virtually all of the annual growth occurred over the past three months. Other indicators have shown a return to house price growth following a virtual standstill in the last quarter of 2018, but this is the highest rate of growth that has been reported for some time.
“This large increase is partly because the same period in 2018 was affected by the snow and ice caused by the ‘Beast from the East’, which depressed housing market activity and prices.
“However, it does seem safe to say that house prices are rising again, although the underlying rate of growth is probably not as high as five per cent per year. With the number of house sales holding up well, house price growth for the whole of 2019 may well exceed most forecasts, which were generally somewhere between zero and four per cent.”