House prices in the UK went up 1.4% from February to March, the biggest increase for six months, according to the lender Halifax 

for sale

UK house prices went up for the ninth month in a row between February to March this year, leaping up 1.4%, according to the Halifax House Price Index.

The jump is the biggest since September last year with house prices continuing to rise because of strong buyer demand and a lack of properties, the lender said. 

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said he expected house prices should slow over the coming year. 

He said: “Average UK house prices rose again in March for the ninth month in a row. The increase of 1.4%, or £3,860 in cash terms, was the biggest jump since last September. 

“The story behind such strong house price inflation remains unchanged: limited supply and strong demand, despite the prospect of increasing pressure on households’ finances.”

He added: “Although there is some recent evidence of more homes coming onto the market, the fundamental issue remains that too many buyers are chasing too few properties.” 

The average house price of £282,753 was up £28,113 on a year ago, according to the Halifax, and £43,577 up on the first lockdown. 

But Galley noted with policymakers needing to keep inflation down, and the war in Ukraine making that harder, interest rates were likely to rise. Along with a higher cost of living “these factors should lead to a slowdown in house price inflation over the next year”, he said.

The Halifax also noted the South West of England overtook Wales as the place where annual price house inflation has risen most, at 14.6% between February and March this year. In Wales house price growth was 14.1%. 

Nationwide figures last month said the average house price in the United Kingdom rose 12.6% in February year-on-year.  

Comment on the latest house price hike:  

“While other sectors like energy and food have been consistently increasing, the housing market may begin to suffer a slowdown in demand if the current rate of increase continues as more consumers start to struggle to enter the market.” - Walid Koudmani, chief market analyst at financial brokerage XTB.  

“The housing market may well have hit maximum overdrive with this latest spike in prices. It’s as if the housing market has decoupled itself from the rest of the economy and the cost of living crisis has yet to make any dent on the prices people are willing to pay.” - Nicky Stevenson, managing director at national estate agent group Fine & Country 

“The release of every new set of house prices is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, with constant announcements of yet another record high becoming increasingly monotonous. There was so much expectation that the cost of living crisis would start to impact on house prices, yet prices continue to defy predictions and show month-on-month increases.” Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals. 

 “Covid-induced disruptions, backlogs in the planning system and spiralling building costs mean a lot of developers have been hamstrung in their efforts to build more homes across the UK. Policymakers must focus on how we use the housing we have more effectively.” - Anna Clare Harper, director at IMMO, a tech-driven residential investment platform.