Halifax reports another month of rising property prices, indicating positive trends in the property market.

UK house prices went up for the fifth consecutive month in February, according to Halifax. The lender’s latest House Price Index, published yesterday, showed that the average house price rose by 0.4% in February, bringing the average house price to £291,699 – an increase of more than £1000 more than last month.

‘On an annual basis, house prices were 1.7% higher than a year ago, slowing from 2.3% in January,’ says Kim Kinnaird, Director of Mortgages at Halifax. ‘However, these figures continue to suggest a relatively stable start to 2024 and align with other promising signs of increased housing activity, such as mortgage approvals.

‘In fact, the average price tag of a home is now only around £1800 off the peak seen in June 2022,’ adds Kinnaird. ‘While it is encouraging that we’ve seen growth in recent months, what happens next remains uncertain. Although lower mortgage rates, alongside expectations of Bank of England interest rate cuts this year, should help buyer confidence in the short term, the downward trend on rates is showing signs of fading.’

First-time buyer challenge

If you’re a prospective first-time buyer, you may be struggling to purchase your first property despite rising wages, as interest rates are higher than they’ve been in recent years. This type of challenge could mean the housing market may slow down later this year, according to Halifax.

‘Even with growing wages and inflation falling back, raising a deposit and affording a sizeable mortgage remains challenging, especially for those looking to join the property ladder, so it remains a possibility that there could be a slowdown in the housing market this year,’ says Kinnaird.

Regional price differences

Northern Ireland leads the way with a 5% increase in house prices compared to last year, now averaging at £195,956. The North West, North East, and Wales also experienced positive growth. Meanwhile, London has the highest average house price at £536,996. Eastern England saw the biggest drop in prices last month, with homes selling for £329,927 on average.

We are hoping that fixed-rate mortgage deals will fall gradually later in the year, which would be a boost for both homemovers and remortgagers alike. We’ll keep you posted.

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