Annual property prices in the UK rose by 10.1% in March, which is the biggest increase since July 2014, according to new housing data.
Over the first three months of the year, the Halifax House Price Index shows that house prices have risen by 2.9% when compared with the final quarter of 2015, which puts the average house price at £214,811.
Nationwide’s latest House Price Index reported an average price of £200,251 in March, while the Land Registry’s latest data recorded average property prices of £190,275 in February in England and Wales.
In separate research, Halifax reveals that flat prices have risen more sharply than other property types since 2008. In that period, the average price of a flat has gone up by 57%, compared with 37% for other residential properties.
The slowest increase has been in detached houses, which went up by just 20%, with terraced and semi-detached houses rising by 38% and 34% respectively.
London flat owners benefited most from price rises, which were up 62% over eight years. The capital has a much larger share of flats than the rest of the UK – at 50%, compared with 17% elsewhere.
Supply remains low
Halifax highlights a recent report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which said that while new instructions from home sellers had risen in February for the third month in a row, this was not enough to stop the stock of secondhand properties from falling as sales increased. This means that the stock of properties for sale remains close to record lows.
Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, adds that uncertainty ahead of the European referendum in June could result in “some softening” in the housing market over the next couple of months, but believes that the housing market will remain “robust”.
Commenting on the data, Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of online estate agent eMoov.co.uk, says: “Although it looks like good news for UK homeowners on the surface, this increase could be artificially inflated due to the stamp duty changes. When coupled with the fact that interest rates are still at a rock bottom and keeping the market buoyant, it’s hard to tell exactly how the market will go.”
Alex Gosling, chief executive of online estate agent HouseSimple.com, adds: "April will give us a better gauge as to where prices might go over the next few months. This is traditionally a buoyant time for the housing market, and we would expect to see buyer and seller activity ramp up.
"However, with the referendum just a couple of months away, and fewer buy-to-let investors likely to purchase in April, we might actually start to see prices cooling. That wouldn't be an altogether bad thing for the market."