Property 

House prices rebound in April

House prices rebound in April

UK house prices have risen 5 per cent in the year to April, according to the latest figures from Halifax.

The banks’s house price index, published today (April 8), showed the average house price for April sat at £236,619 — 5 per cent up on April 2018.

House prices had also risen in the latest quarter and were 4.2 per cent higher in February to April than in the three months before.

On a monthly basis, prices rose by 1.1 per cent in April, correcting a fall of 1.3 per cent in March.

In terms of housing activity, the number of homes being bought and sold remained steady. March saw 101,830 home sales which is only slightly higher than the five-year average of 100,959.

However, demand for and supply of housing remained subdued for another month. 

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey, used by Halifax for its index, showed the average number of homes for sale was at its lowest level in the past 12 years.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: "The latest data released from Halifax this morning proves yet again how erratic any monthly changes to average property prices can be. 

"The April figures suggest an average month-on-month increase; a reversal of fortune, it would seem, from the month-on-month decrease reported by the same index in March.

"The year-on-year growth figures in April appear more consistent with the picture from the previous month, although it’s likely that this is being supported by the ongoing lack of properties for sale in many parts of the UK."

Mr Murphy added that as the spring market was not as bouncy as usual, the industry was seeing continued lender competition as mortgage rates remained close to record lows.

"In particular," he added, "lenders are keen to attract first-time buyers who are widely seen as providing support for the rest of the market. Overall then, while not earth-shattering, one might perhaps view this latest set of data as an indication that the market remains on a steady footing."

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, agreed that the numbers were encouraging.

He said that people looking to buy were becoming aware of how good market conditions were as mortgage rates remained low and interest rates were unlikely to rise again soon.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: "The Halifax survey is always respected, not least because of its longevity and breadth of coverage. 

"These numbers are no exception but confirm what we are seeing at the coalface - a spring bounce but not as great as we might have expected. 

'The market is quite volatile, bearing in mind the fall in prices last month. The price increases recorded are probably more to do with shortages of stock and lower transactions than sustainable market strength."

imogen.tew@ft.com