UK house prices hit a record high of £254,606 on average in March after jumping by 1.1 per cent month-on-month, according to an index.
Across the UK, the average price is around £15,000 higher since the start of the national coronavirus lockdowns in March 2020 – equating to an increase of more than £1,000 per month on average.
Values in March 2021 were 6.5 per cent higher than the same month last year, the Halifax said.
It said Government support measures and a stamp duty holiday have been key to bolstering the housing market.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Following a relatively subdued start to the year, the housing market enjoyed something of a resurgence during March, with prices up by just over 1 per cent compared to February.
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“This rise – the first since November last year – means the average property is now worth £254,606, a new record high.
“A year on from the early days of the first national lockdown, March’s data shows that house prices rose by 6.5 per cent annually, or £15,430 in cash terms.
“Casting our minds back 12 months, few could have predicted quite how well the housing market would ride out the impact of the pandemic so far, let alone post growth of more than £1,000 per month on average.
“The continuation of Government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market.
“The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, whilst for those saving hard to buy their first home, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route on to the property ladder.
“Overall we expect elevated levels of activity to be maintained in the coming months, with consumer confidence spurred on by the successful vaccine rollout, and buyer demand still fuelled by a desire for larger properties and more outdoor space, as work-life priorities have shifted during the pandemic.
“A shortage of homes for sale will also support prices in the short term, as lower availability always favours sellers.
“However, with the economy yet to feel the full effect of its biggest recession in more than 300 years, we remain cautious about the longer-term outlook.
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“Given current levels of uncertainty and the potential for higher unemployment, we still expect house price growth to slow somewhat by the end of this year.”
Mark Harris said: “The market rebounded strongly in March as buyers realised that the stamp duty holiday extension meant it was still possible to take advantage of the saving, while the continuing easing of lockdown provided further impetus.
“It is no surprise that the start of the year saw a more subdued market as lockdown and home schooling made viewings practically impossible.
“With hardly a day going by without another lender launching a high loan-to-value offering, and indeed rates coming down on these as more providers enter the fray, there is plenty on the lending front to tempt borrowers.”
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “What we are seeing is a real lack of stock which in turn increases competition and house prices.”
Source: Irish News
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