Home Property House prices to accelerate this year as the ‘housing market finding its feet in an era of higher interest rates’

House prices to accelerate this year as the ‘housing market finding its feet in an era of higher interest rates’

7th May 24 11:18 am

The average UK house prices rose by 0.1% in April after falling by 0.9% in March and according to the Halifax House Price Index which was published on Tuesday.

Property prices have grown by 1.1% annually compared to 0.4% in April, Halifax report says.

The Halifax report said that in April a typical house cost £288.949 compared to £288,781 in March.

Amanda Bryden, head of mortgages, Halifax, said: “While there is always much scrutiny of monthly price changes – and a degree of volatility is to be expected given current market conditions – the reality is that average house prices have largely plateaued in the early part of 2024.

“This reflects a housing market finding its feet in an era of higher interest rates.

“While borrowing costs remain more expensive than a few years ago, homebuyers are gaining confidence from a period of relative stability.

“Activity and demand is improving, evidenced by greater numbers of mortgage applications so far this year, while at an industry level mortgage approvals have reached their highest point in 18 months.

“Our recent research also found that buyers are adjusting their expectations, with first-time buyers in particular compensating for higher borrowing costs by targeting smaller properties. We see this reflected in property prices for the first few months of this year, with the value of flats rising most sharply, closing the ‘growth gap’ on bigger properties that’s existed for most of the last four years.

“However, we can’t overlook the fact that affordability constraints are still a significant challenge, for both new buyers and those rolling off fixed-term deals.

“Mortgage rates have edged up again in recent weeks, primarily as a result of expectations around future Bank of England base rate changes, with markets now pricing in a slower pace of cuts.

“If, as is still expected, downward moves in bank rate come into play later this year, fixed mortgage rates should fall.

“Combined with the resilience displayed by the housing market over recent months, we now expect property prices to rise modestly over the course of 2024.”

Ranald Mitchell, director at Charwin Private Clients told Newspage, “The housing market is less finding its feet than being knocked off them.

“It came out of its corner swinging in early 2024 but has since been hit by a stinging haymaker of mortgage hikes.

“Despite ample listings and steady traffic at viewings, prospective buyers are holding back, waiting for more favourable conditions, paralysed by spiralling mortgage costs.

“The crisis of confidence among first-time buyers and home movers alike will only be solved by a now overdue base rate cut, which could be the lifeline needed to revive and strengthen the faltering market.”

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