House prices fell 0.1% in February
The average UK house price is now £251,697, according to Halifax, down by 0.1% compared to January.
Property prices are still 5.2% higher than prices in February 2020, and up 0.5% on a quarterly basis, said the lender.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Having enjoyed an extremely strong period of activity in the second half of last year, the housing market continued its softer start to 2021, with average prices down very slightly (-0.1%) compared to January.
“The housing market has been at something of a crossroads at the start of this year, with upcoming events key to determining the path of activity and prices over the next few months. The government’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday – one of the main drivers of demand from home movers during the pandemic – has removed a great deal of uncertainty for buyers with transactions yet to complete.
“In the longer-term, the performance of the housing market remains inextricably linked to the health of the wider economy. The pace and extent of recovery are still highly uncertain, and much will depend on the ongoing success of the UK’s vaccination roll out.”
Nicky Stevenson, managing director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, added: “Such a minor monthly decline, leaving prices just under all-time highs, means this is still a seller’s market.
“Many had predicted house prices would soften significantly as we got closer to what, before the Budget, was the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday but that has not materialised. The reason for this is that the biggest supporting factor was not the scheme but households’ hunger for more space.
“That continues to be the case and, following the extension and taper of the stamp duty tax break, the market’s 2021 fortunes don’t look to be in doubt. Economists have had to tear up their property predictions and the housing market now has every possible ingredient it needs to deliver another sustained wave of highs, similar to that seen in the second half of last year.”