Halifax: UK house prices stable before COVID-19

Halifax: UK house prices stable before COVID-19

New data revealed on Tuesday that house prices in the UK were stable last month before the measures to contain COVID-19 were put in place.

According to the latest Halifax House Price Index, UK house prices in March were 3% higher than the same month a year earlier.

Meanwhile, house prices in Britain were flat on a monthly basis.

Last month was a turning point for the UK in its battle to contain the spread of COVID-19, as the government introduced stricter social distancing measures.

“The UK housing market began March with similar trends to previous months, as key market indicators showed a sustained level of buyer and seller activity,” Russell Galley, Managing Director at Halifax, commented on the data.

“Overall average house prices in the month were little changed from February’s record high, while annual growth nudged up to 3%,” Russell Galley continued.

“These factors all underlined a positive trajectory and increased momentum in the early part of the year, with confidence rising as political and economic uncertainty eased. However, it’s clear we ended the month in very different territory as a result of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Russell Galley said.

The Managing Director added that most market activity “has been paused” as people are following government guidelines to stay at home.

Meanwhile, estate agencies, surveyors and conveyancers have been temporarily closed.

“With viewings cancelled and movers being encouraged to put transactions on hold, activity will inevitably fall sharply in the coming months. It should be noted that with less data available, calculating average house prices is likely to become more challenging in the short-term,” Russell Galley said.

“However, it’s still too early to properly assess what potential long-term impacts the current lockdown might have on the UK housing market. While there is very significant uncertainty at the moment, much will depend on the length of time it takes for restrictions to be lifted, the pressure that has been exerted on the economy in the meantime and the effect this has on consumer sentiment.”

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