House prices rise slightly in March

House on see-saw

House prices rose by 0.1% in March, but are still 2.9% down year-on-year, according to Halifax.

The average house price in the UK now sits at £162,912.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the lender, says the recent increase in employment, particularly those in full-time jobs, may have helped to support the housing market.

However, prices in the first quarter of 2011 were 0.6% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2010, while prices are 2.9% lower than a year ago.

Halifax predicts that house prices will fall 2% over 2011 as a whole.

"Uncertainty over the general economic outlook and individual financial circumstances are likely to constrain housing demand, resulting in some modest downward pressure on prices," Ellis says.

In contrast, Nationwide reported a 0.5% increase in house prices for March, and predicts that prices will "move sideways or modestly lower" this year.

Tax changes

Stamp duty increased from 4% to 5% yesterday for homes worth more than £1 million. Unsurprisingly, London has the highest proportion of million pound homebuyers – 4.7%, according to Halifax.

The increase will add £10,000 to the total stamp duty bill for someone paying £1 million for a home.



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