According to the latest Halifax House Price the average UK house price is now £233,181 following a 1.6% monthly fall in March. According to the leading high street lender this reduction partly corrects the significant growth seen last month and again demonstrates the risk in focusing too heavily on short-term, volatile measures. Industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages being approved remains around 40% below pre-financial crisis levels, and the lender identified that lower levels of activity can lead to bigger price movements.
Halifax highlighted that the more stable measure of annual house price growth has held steady at 2.6% and is still within their expectation for the year. The need to build up a deposit before getting a mortgage is still a challenge for many looking to buy a property. However, the combined effect of fewer houses for sale and fewer people looking to buy continues to support prices in the long-term.
These conflicting challenges, when combined with the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, have had an impact across the country but most notably in London, meaning that it is expected that subdued price growth will continue for the time being.
Bank of England industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases – a leading indicator of completed house sales – fell 3.5% to 64,337. This compares to a rise of 3.6% in the previous month. As a result, the mortgage approval figure is back to being very close to the December figure. The February rate is 1,892 below the 5 year average monthly approval rate of 66,229, and is 740 below the previous 12 month average.