Halifax – Annual house price growth begins to rise in 2020
Annual house price growth increased to 4.1% in January, up slightly from the end of 2019, according to the latest Halifax house price index.
House prices kicked off the year with a modest monthly increase, rising by 0.4% in January following stronger gains of 1.8% and 1.2% seen in December and November respectively.
In the latest quarter, house prices were 2.3% higher than in the preceding three months.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “A number of important market indicators continue to show signs of improvement. We have seen a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK economy. However, it’s too early to say if a corner has been turned. The recent positive figures may actually represent activity that would ordinarily have been expected to take place last year but was delayed by economic uncertainty. So while housing market activity has undoubtedly increased over recent months, the extent to which this persists will be driven by housing policy, the wider political environment and trends in the economy.
“Looking ahead, we still expect a moderate rate of house price growth over the course of the year. Demand is likely to continue to exceed the supply of properties for sale across the UK, with the subdued pace of new building also adding to upwards price pressure. The environment for mortgage affordability should stay largely favourable. However, with the growth in rental costs accelerating, many first-time buyers will continue to face a significant challenge in raising necessary deposits.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of James Pendleton estate agents, commented: “The Halifax is renowned for giving bigger growth readings and for two consecutive months now it hasn’t disappointed. There are so many buyers coming out of the ground, it’s like Watership Down meets Location, Location, Location.
“Confidence is key and it has been driven close to extinction since the Brexit vote but now it’s everywhere. Even on a basic human level, new clients are coming in smiling with an optimism that the industry has sincerely missed.
“The market’s leading indicator, the Nationwide HPI, was more muted in its reading of house price growth last month, but the Halifax is clearly signalling that, as buyers and sellers flood back to the table, it is demand that has the run of play.
“A Boris Bounce is beyond doubt now but, with a Budget looming, Downing Street will have to keep a close eye on how the market’s new direction will affect first-time buyers and young families.”