Halifax: Upturn in housing market running out of steam

NerdWallet Mortgages House price growth

House price growth stood at 5.4% in January, down from 6.0% in December, Halifax’s House Price Index has found.

Prices now average at £251,968, following a monthly change of -0.3%.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “There are some early signs that the upturn in the housing market could be running out of steam, with the annual rate of house price inflation cooling to its lowest level since August.

“Industry figures for agreed sales remain well above pre-pandemic levels but new instructions to sell have decreased noticeably, and total stock held by estate agents has risen to its highest level since before the EU referendum in 2016.

“The stamp duty holiday has undoubtedly helped to fuel growing demand amongst households for larger properties.

“However, given the current time to completion across the market, transactions in the early part of 2021 probably don’t include many borrowers who expect to benefit from the stamp duty reprieve.”

Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove, said: “The future of the property market, and in fact the economy, remains uncertain throughout 2021.

“Increasing unemployment and a shattered economy should indicate a slow housing market, but if we have learnt anything from 2020 it’s that the housing market remains resilient.

“Lockdown has shifted the way the nation views property, and we still expect to see ongoing demand for bigger properties in rural locations throughout this year – but at lesser prices than in 2020.”