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March house prices up but too soon to predict Covid-19 impact – Halifax

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  • 07/04/2020
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March house prices up but too soon to predict Covid-19 impact – Halifax
House prices rose three per cent year on year in March but experts predict it is too early to gauge impact of Covid-19 on the property market.

 

The average house price remained barely unchanged from the previous month, at £240,384. Compared to the previous quarter this was an increase of 2.1 per cent, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

Halifax’s March index is the last report to reflect a pre-coronavirus market.

In the final days of last month, the government brought the housing market to a standstill by telling buyers and sellers to postpone non-essential house moves for the next three months.

In-person house viewings, physical valuations and removals have all been put on hold to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “It’s still too early to properly assess what potential long-term impacts the current lockdown might have on the UK housing market.

“While there is very significant uncertainty at the moment, much will depend on the length of time it takes for restrictions to be lifted, the pressure that has been exerted on the economy in the meantime and the effect this has on consumer sentiment.”

 

Accuracy difficult

Galley said housing activity will inevitably fall in the coming months as the market pauses and with less data available it will be difficult to accurately calculate the average house price in the short term.

The housing market began March with similar trends to previous months, said Galley.

Key market indicators showed a sustained level of buyer and seller activity and increased momentum in the early part of the year as the uncertainty over Brexit and its impact on the economy eased.

“It’s clear we ended the month in very different territory as a result of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said the year-on-year increase in values and transactions indicated that buyers and sellers had got over the Brexit debacle and were getting on with their lives but coronavirus had “cast a very dark shadow” over the property market.

“If the crisis is tackled properly by the government and indeed the country as a whole, then hopefully by the final quarter some of that positivity which we saw earlier in the year will have a chance to return,” he said.

 

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