The latest figures from the Halifax, the UK’s largest mortgage lender, has shown a surprise fall in house prices in March.
According to the Halifax prices fell by 1.1% in March, although they are still up by 2.3% over the past three months and by 8.7% over the past year. Although this was only the third monthly fall in the past 15 months, it still caught many commentators by surprise.
The monthly figure reported by the Halifax is in stark contrast to that revealed last week by the Nationwide, who reported house prices had risen by 0.4% in March.
Average house price
The Halifax now put the average house price at £178,249, whilst the Nationwide believes it is slightly higher at £180,264.
However, the Land Registry, which is often thought to be the most comprehensive survey, puts the average house price at exactly £170,000, some way behind the two large mortgage lenders.
Responding to the survey, Stephen Noakes, Mortgages Director, said: “Although house prices fell in the month, prices in the three months to March were 2.3% higher than in the final quarter of 2013. The annual rate of increase rose with prices in the three months to March 8.7% higher than in the same three months last year.”
Noakes continued: “Housing demand continues to be supported by an improving economic outlook, growth in employment, rising consumer confidence and low interest rates.
“The recent strengthening in house price is increasing the amount of equity that many homeowners have in their home. This will potentially encourage and enable more owners to put their property on the market for sale over the coming year, therefore boosting supply and easing pressure on prices.” (Source: Halifax)