Further evidence has emerged that house price growth eased in April, after a rush in March, according to Halifax.
April has seen a slow-down in growth of UK house prices in April, as he Halifax said growth eased 9.2% compared to last year.
A month ago, Halifax said house prices were rising by 10.1%. Compared with March, prices actually fell in April- 0.8% – although the monthly figures can be very volatile.
House prices in the three months from February to April were 1.5% higher than in the preceding three months, virtually half the 2.9% published a month ago.
The slow down follows the rush to beat the new stamp duty tax rates for buy to let and second homes at the start of April, the Halifax said. Consumer confidence exacerbated by the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote may also be have an impact on the housing market.
Halifax said confidence in the housing market was at its lowest ever level.
According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMR), there were a record 165,400 property sales in the UK in March, which was 11% more than the previous peak in January 2007.
Martin Ellis, Halfax’s 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.”
Economist Howard Archer from IHS Global insight said:”Increased domestic economic and political uncertainties are also likely to rein in housing market activity in the run-up to June’s referendum on UK membership of the European Union (EU). Consequently, house prices may well be softer for the next few months.”
However, he predicts that in the second half of 2016, the housing market is likely to regain momentum on the assumption that a vote to stay in the EU reduces uncertainty and supports a pick-up in economic activity.