House price inflation hits 18-month high
Annual house price growth has risen to 2.3%, according to Nationwide, the strongest rate of inflation for 18 months.
The lender said that average UK house prices were up by 0.3% in February to £216,092.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Recent data releases indicate that the housing market has gathered momentum in recent months and the latest house price figures are in line with that trend.
“The number of residential property transactions and mortgages approved for house purchase increased around the turn of the year and surveyors have reported an increase in new buyer enquiries.
“Looking ahead, economic developments will remain the key driver of housing market trends and house prices. Business surveys suggest that activity recovered in the New Year, but there are still significant uncertainties that threaten to exert a drag on the economy in the coming quarters.
“The global economic backdrop remains challenging, with the coronavirus outbreak expected to weigh on global activity in the coming quarters. Overall, we expect the UK economy to continue to expand at a modest pace in 2020, with house prices remaining broadly flat in 2020 as a whole.”
Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker, Coreco, added: “Now that the Brexit burden has been lifted, the property market is feeling significantly more upbeat.
“There are more buyers, more properties coming onto the market and mortgages that are about as competitive on price as it gets.
“We’re by no means out of the woods yet, as trade negotiations with the EU could easily turn sour and hit sentiment, and there’s the small matter of the March Budget, but for now the tempo of the market is improving by the day.”