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House prices rise in February to reach £291,699

House prices rise in February to reach £291,699
Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

House prices increased 0.4% in February, marking the fifth monthly rise in a row, said Halifax.

That’s a boost of £1,000 on the average house price in a month, said the lender.

Property prices are also up on an annual basis, by 1.7% in the year to February, hitting £291,699.

Regional split

Northern Ireland saw the strongest growth in house prices in the UK, rising 5% in a year to reach £195,956. London prices are unsurprisingly still the most expensive – they rose 1.5% in the last year to £536,996.

Eastern England saw house prices fall 0.8% to £329,927.

Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages, said: “While it is encouraging that we’ve seen growth in recent months, what happens next remains uncertain. Although lower mortgage rates, alongside expectations of Bank of England interest rate cuts this year, should help buyer confidence in the short term, the downward trend on rates is showing signs of fading.

“Even with growing wages and inflation falling back, raising a deposit and affording a sizeable mortgage remains challenging, especially for those looking to join the property ladder, so it remains a possibility that there could be a slowdown in the housing market this year.”

Wider economic impact

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, reckons the future direction of house prices is highly dependent on the wider economy.

She explained: “There’s still a good chance there are more difficult economic times on the horizon, and the Bank of England is fairly gloomy about the outlook. However, we may well be out of a recession, and as the second National Insurance cut of the year filters through into people’s pockets, it could fuel a bit more spending, and consumer optimism.

“Sentiment plays such a vital role in this market that it could help keep us in positive territory in the coming months – even with higher mortgage rates.”