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House prices still growing – but at a crawl

Annual house price inflation is now three times less than 12 months ago thanks to last year’s Stamp Duty rush, data shows.

Your Move’s England & Wales House Price Index showed that prices returned to growth annually in March, rising 3.3% to 301,278, with monthly price inflation at 0.5%.
In comparison, house price growth in March 2016 was 9.1%, but this was most probably skewed by the Stamp Duty rush.

The March 2017 index at least stemmed a four-month tide of falls that saw price inflation slip from 5.8% in November to 5.3% in December before declining to 4.7% in January and 3.1% in February.

Meanwhile, Birmingham property prices posted the most gains out of all regions for the first time in 21 years.

West Midlands property grew 4.8% in March to £212,706, compared with growth of 1.3% in London and 3.5% in the South-East.

Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “There is little in the short to medium term that will disrupt the market greatly, with interest rate increases seemingly on hold, mortgage supply and pricing remaining favourable and consumer confidence strong. In addition, first-time buyer numbers are up, not least as a consequence of government schemes and the Bank of Mum and Dad.

“However, with supply still tight, rising house prices remain a problem. We therefore cannot afford to overlook the ongoing housing shortage in the UK, which continues to dampen the hopes of many would-be home owners.

“The RICS indicated in its February UK Residential Market Survey that ‘tight supply conditions’ across most regions, along with flat sales in that month, resulted in ‘a further erosion of available stock for sale, with the average stock per surveyor just shy of a record low’.

“Our data shows that March has seen a pick-up on this.”

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