House price rises could be stalling, says Halifax
Halifax has said that the recent spike in house prices “could be running out of steam” after the bank found that property values dropped in January.
Halifax’s latest data showed a 0.3% fall in house prices for January - the largest fall since April of last year.
Despite this, the average property is now worth £13,000 more than in January 2020, as prices have climbed 5.4% over the last twelve months.
The average property price across the whole of the UK was £251,968 last month.
Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: "How far and how deep any slowdown proves to be is a challenge to predict given the prevailing uncertainty created by the pandemic.
"With swathes of the economy still shuttered, and joblessness continuing to edge higher, on the surface this points to slower market activity and downward price pressures in the near-term."
The stamp duty holiday in England is set to expire on 31 March with many experts concerned that sales could plummet as a result.
Chief executive of asset manager SPI Capital, Anna Clare Harper, said: "The slowdown we are now seeing in house price growth reflects the looming end to [the stamp duty holiday]. Looking to the future, when assuming the temporary stamp duty reduction ends, we're likely to see a slowdown in house price rises."
Harper said that potential home buyers were less willing to buy as a result of the current economic climate.
Managing director at mortgage broker Coreco, Andrew Montlake, said: "The UK property market went supersonic after the introduction of the stamp duty holiday last summer and, with the deadline fast approaching, it has inevitably slowed down.
"In hard economic terms, and with the stamp duty holiday over in all but name, the property market is facing a huge amount of uncertainty."
Montlake said that homeowners and prospective buyers were pushed to rethink their plans as a result of the pandemic:
"The rules of the game have changed. Properties that were perfect a year ago are often no longer what people want as work and life priorities have been turned upside down,” he said.
Managing director at estate agent Fine & Country, Nicky Stevenson, also credited the lockdown for keeping house prices high due to reduced supply.
"The Budget is only around the corner now and, while it remains to be seen whether the chancellor will extend the stamp duty tax break, he has a big deficit and many other levers to pull that could affect the market in much more significant ways," said Stevenson.