The most recent Halifax House Price Index reveals that prices fell in February, but only by 0.1%.
The average UK house price remains fairly static at £251,697 but the number of transactions fell in January following eight months of positive growth.
Mortgage approvals also fell in January, marking the second consecutive month of decline, with the latest Bank of England figures showing the 98,994 mortgages approved in January 2021 as being 3.7% less than December.
It seems that overall market activity is softening. New buyer enquiries declined to a net balance of -28% after seven consecutive months of positive growth. The number of houses coming on the market fell, too, by 38%, while agreed sales fell by 18%, according to the RICS.
Post-budget boom in demand
While Halifax shows a slight decline in market activity, following the Chancellor’s new Budget announcements this week, there may be another period of market boom on the way.
Not only did Rishi Sunak reveal that the stamp duty holiday will be extended to the end of June, providing thousands of buyers more opportunity to buy without paying tax, but also that government-backed 95% mortgages will be available for first-time buyers from as early as next month.
After this announcement, people “flocked to view homes online”, according to the Evening Standard.
So, while 2021 has, thus far, seen some slowing down in the housing market, March and into Spring/Summer could see another period of boom just like we saw in Autumn 2020.