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Nationwide: House price growth at 2.3%

Annual house price growth across the UK averaged at 2.3% in the year to February 2020, its highest point since July 2018.

The typical price reached £216,092 in February, following monthly growth of 0.3%.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said: “With house price growth at its strongest in the last 18 months, it’s certainly positive to see that more first time buyers are taking hold of the homeownership schemes that are available to them.

“This house price growth means that buyers who have been hesitating to get onto the property ladder may be paying a higher price, but they can now jump into the spring market with renewed confidence.

“These figures suggest we’re in store for an active and healthy spring market. However, more needs to be done so that all first-time buyers feel properly supported on their home ownership journey and maintain any momentum in today’s already tough market.

“Savings schemes, Help to Buy replacements and stamp duty should all be looked at by the government ahead of the Budget on the 11th of March.”

House price growth was below 1.0% between December 2018 and November 2019.

Nigel Purves, chief operating officer of Wayhome, said: “Those looking to sell will be celebrating the continued post-election uptick in house price growth. However, these figures are a further blow to aspiring first-time buyers, making it even harder to get that first foot on the ladder.

“Those who are set on buying might now feel pressured to consider a property which isn’t entirely suitable, perhaps compromising on size and location.

“The truth is that there aren’t enough ways for aspiring homeowners to access the right property.

“The government needs to consider the need for innovation to help this growing section of society desperate for the security that owning a home brings.”