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UK house prices fell 1.6% in March

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Despite the dip, average property prices are still higher than they were this time last year
UK house prices fell 1.6% in March

House prices fell by 1.6% in March, said Halifax, taking the average UK house price to £233,181.

However, prices are still higher than they were during the same period 12 months ago – up 2.6% – according to the lender. They’ve also ticked up by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the last quarter of 2018.

So what’s happening?

Expert analysis

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “This reduction partly corrects the significant growth seen last month and again demonstrates the risk in focusing too heavily on short-term, volatile measures. Industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages being approved remains around 40% below pre-financial crisis levels, and we know that lower levels of activity can lead to bigger price movements.

“The more stable measure of annual house price growth rose slightly to 2.6% and is still within our expectation for the year. The need to build up a deposit before getting a mortgage is still a challenge for many looking to buy a property. However, the combined effect of fewer houses for sale and fewer people looking to buy continues to support prices in the long-term.

“These conflicting challenges, when combined with the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, have had an impact across the country but most notably in London, meaning that we continue to expect subdued price growth for the time being.”

Lucy Pendleton, director of estate agent James Pendleton, added: “The UK housing market is proving as unpredictable at the moment as the daily Brexit negotiation updates.

“The annual figures are a more reliable indicator of market conditions, with much of the growth in house prices figures outside London. There are few signs of improvement in the number of transactions across the Capital.

“Buyers are understandably showing caution while we remain in this period of limbo, possibly in the belief there will be better opportunities to broker a deal after we leave the EU.”

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