Annual house price growth climbs to 4.1%, says Halifax

Warren Lewis
7th February 2020
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The latest data and analysis from Halifax has revealed that there has been a slight rise in annual house price growth since the end of 2019. According to this morning's figures, annual house price growth increased to 4.1% in January after gains of 1.8% and 1.2% seen in December and November respectively.

The lender revealed that during the latest quarter, house prices were 2.3% higher than in the preceding three months.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, comments on this morning's figures: “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 upward 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.”

Anna Clare Harper, co-founder of property fund Anglo Residential, says: "Confidence has been low due to political uncertainty since the 2016 Referendum but January’s data suggests greater confidence - reflecting the ‘Boris Bounce’ and greater certainty around Brexit.

"It’s likely that the uptick in pricing is based on a release both of pent-up demand and supply. The data masks a fundamental shortage of properties priced at affordable levels in the places where people want and need to live, however. It also masks who is buying - more first-time buyers and fewer landlords."

Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of James Pendleton estate agents, says: “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.”


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