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House price growth slows to lowest in four years - Halifax

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 07 Apr 2017

House price growth slows to lowest in four years - Halifax

(ShareCast News) - Growth in house prices slowed significantly in the year to March, according to data from lender Halifax.
House prices in the three months to March were up 3.8% from the same period a year before, but down compared to a 5.1% jump in February.

The increase was slightly weaker than the 3.9% analysts had expected and marked the lowest annual rate since May 2013.

House prices were unchanged between February and March for the second consecutive month and Halifax said the average price of a home is now £219,755.

On a quarterly basis, prices were 0.1% higher than in the previous three months. This was the lowest quarterly rate of change since Octber 2016.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: "The annual rate of house price growth has more than halved over the past 12 months. A lengthy period of rapid house price growth has made it increasingly difficult for many to purchase a home as income growth has failed to keep up, which appears to have curbed housing demand.

"Nonetheless, the supply of both new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low. This, together with historically very low mortgage rates, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months."

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Markit, said: "March's flat Halifax house price data - following on from lower Nationwide data and the Bank of England reporting a dip in mortgage approvals in February - fuels our belief that the housing market is being increasingly affected by the increasing squeeze on consumers and their concerns over the outlook.

"Markedly weakening consumer fundamentals, likely mounting caution over making major spending decisions, and elevated house price to earnings ratios are likely to weigh down on housing market activity and house prices. However, a shortage of supply is likely to put a floor under prices. Consequently, we believe house price gains over 2017 will be limited to no more than 2.5% - and there is a very real possibility that it could come in lower than that."



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