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House price growth reaches 6.9%

Annual house price growth increased to 6.9% in February, up from 6.4% in January, Nationwide’s house price index has found.

On a monthly basis prices rose by 0.7% in February to average at £231,068.

Nationwide said the increase is a surprise, given that stamp duty was scheduled to end in March, however it’s possible that the relief is still providing some momentum.

Nigel Purves, chief executive of Wayhome, said: “While the pace of house price growth over the past few months has been largely reflective of buyers pushing up demand ahead of the stamp duty deadline, people’s changing property needs have also brought forward purchases.

“The market now waits with baited breath to find out whether the deadline ends up being extended for a further three months or not, and what the long-term impact of either choice will be.”

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: “UK house prices have unexpectedly increased month-on-month, which suggests that the stamp duty holiday is still providing some momentum within the market.

“It’s now expected that Rishi Sunak will extend the tax break by three months in the Budget tomorrow, so buyers may be pushing forward with their purchases to benefit from the tax relief.”