The Nationwide says March saw a further decline in house prices - they are down 3.1 per cent compared with the same month last year.
March also saw a further monthly price fall - down 0.8 per cent in just over four weeks - and this was the seventh monthly fall in a row – which leaves prices 4.6 per cent below their August peak after taking account of seasonal effects.
Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says: “The housing market reached a turning point last year as a result of the financial market turbulence which followed the mini-Budget.
“Since then, activity has remained subdued – the number of mortgages approved for house purchase remained weak at 43,500 cases in February, almost 40 per cent below the level prevailing a year ago.
“It will be hard for the market to regain much momentum in the near term since consumer confidence remains weak and household budgets remain under pressure from high inflation. Housing affordability also remains stretched, where mortgage rates remain well above the lows prevailing at this point last year.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “Although these figures show house price growth is still slowing, we have seen signs of improvement over the last few months at the sharp end.
“Clearly the rise in mortgage rates and cost of living continues to weigh heavily. However, buyers have been tempted back by more choice and less competition compared with much of 2021 and 2022 as the balance between supply and demand improves.
“If anything, the passage of time has made the reasons for moving more compelling but buyers and sellers want to ensure they are not caught out financially so are trying to negotiate best possible terms, which has led to some price softening.”
Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, adds: “The reverberations from the mini-Budget that shook the UK housing market won’t disappear overnight. After effectively shutting down for Christmas in September, the property market turned back on in January as stability returned to Westminster and the mortgage market.
“Activity has been solid this year as buyers accept the new normal for mortgage rates. For anyone with memories that stretch further back than 2008, it looks very much like the old normal.
“That said, more financial pain will enter the system as owners move onto higher fixed-rate deals and combined with an increase in supply from the lows of the pandemic, we expect UK prices to fall by a few percent this year.”
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