House prices declined by 1.6% on average across the UK during March, the Halifax has revealed, blaming the reduction on housing market volatility as transactions continue to remain subdued in London and the South East.
The dip follows a rise of 6% during February and a 3% reduction during January, it says. The average house price in the UK is now £233,181.
“This reduction partly corrects the significant growth seen last month and again demonstrates the risk in focussing too heavily on short-term, volatile measures,” says Russel Galley, Managing Director of the Halifax.
“The more stable measure of annual house price growth held steady at 2.6% and is still within our expectation for the year.”
Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple (left), says that the current house price volatility is being driven by “ uncertainty around Brexit and low stock levels” as well as the “market slowdown in London”.
Other commentators have pegged the market volatility on surges and declines in first time buyer activity.
Mortgage broker Pete Mugleston of Online Mortgage Advisor, says: “Today’s news aligns with the uplift in enquiries that we have witnessed and we suspect is being driven by first-time buyers taking advantage of the slower house price growth amidst uncertain circumstances.
“In fact, Online Mortgage Advisor saw a 58% uplift in first-time-buyer enquiries last month when comparing data from 2018.
“Looking at the wider mortgage industry, we saw a 70% rise for general mortgage enquiries, showing that first-time-buyers are the group currently driving enquiries in the market.”