House prices in UK down 0.3% in February

UK house prices fell by 0.3% in February, taking the average price of a home to £192,372, according to the latest index from the Halifax.

It means that annual prices growth is now 8.3% and on a quarterly basis from December to February home prices have increased by 2.6% compared to the previous three month period.

The quarterly rate of change increased for the second successive month but it remains below the rates recorded between July and September 2014. The three monthly rate increased despite a small monthly fall in February due to robust rises in both December and January.

Prices in the three months to February were 8.3% higher than in the same three months a year earlier. This was a little lower than January’s annual increase of 8.5% and significantly below the peak of 10.2% in July 2014. The decline between January and February, partly offset January’s 1.9% rise.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, pointed out that annual price growth eased from 8.5% in January to 8.3%, and is comfortably below last July’s peak of 10.2%.

‘The firming in price growth shown by the recent pick up in the three month on three month comparison and indications of a modest rise in activity are likely to be due to a boost to housing demand as a result of increases in real earnings and spending power, further recent falls in mortgage rates and stamp duty changes,’ he explained.

‘The supply of both new and second hand homes available for sale remains low, another factor that is likely to be supporting house prices. Supply remains tight despite house building in England increasing for the second consecutive year in 2014 and a recent rise in the number of properties coming on to the market,’ he added.