House prices in the UK remained stable in March before coronavirus restrictions were introduced. The annual change in house prices registered in March 2020 was 3 per cent; average house price was estimated at £240,384, according to the latest House Price Index from Halifax.
On a quarterly basis, the house prices increased by 2.1 per cent. This was in line with other market indicators. HMRC Monthly property transactions data showed a rise in home sales in February. The UK seasonally adjusted residential transactions in February 2020 were 103,870 – up by 4.5 per cent from January and the highest level since March 2017.
Year-on-year, transactions in February were approximately 6 per cent higher than February 2019 (6.6 per cent higher on a non-seasonally adjusted basis). March data indicated that the housing market was on a recovery path until coronavirus restrictions were imposed.
On a practical level, most market activity has been paused, with the public rightly following advice to stay at home, and estate agencies, surveyors and conveyancers temporarily closing as a result.
Halifax predicted that activity will inevitably fall sharply in the coming months with viewings cancelled and movers being encouraged to put transactions on hold. With fewer data available, calculating average house prices is likely to become more challenging in the short-term, Halifax admitted.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: "The UK housing market began March with similar trends to previous months, as key market indicators showed a sustained level of buyer and seller activity. Overall average house prices in the month were little changed from February’s record high, while annual growth nudged up to 3%."