Posts with tag: Halifax

Halifax reports annual UK house price growth continues to slow

Published On: September 9, 2021 at 8:26 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,

The average house price in the UK during August was £262,954, according to Halifax’s latest House Price Index report.

Other highlights include:

  • Annual house price inflation has slowed further to 7.1%
  • Wales remains the strongest region or nation, with London continuing to lag

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, comments within the report: “Given the rapid gains seen over the past 12 months, August’s rise was relatively modest and the annual rate of house price inflation continued to slow, hitting a five-month low of 7.1% (versus 7.6% in July). 

“However, compared to June 2020, when the housing market began to reopen from the first lockdown, prices remain more than £23,600 higher (or +9.9%).”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, comments: “For all the speculation about what would happen when the Stamp Duty holiday ended, today’s figures look like business as usual for a jaw-dropping year for house prices.

“There’s another record for the cost of an average house, though the pace of growth is slowing month by month.

“Any increase to house prices now is fuelled by a short supply of housing stock coupled with the demand for space, as people continue to work from home and retain flexible working.

“People’s choices are reflected in the regional breakdown, with the South West and Wales seeing the biggest growth, and London lagging behind as commuters flee the rat race.

“Scarcity of properties on the market will continue to prop up prices for the foreseeable future, and we may be entering a period of stability after the rollercoaster of the past 18 months.” 

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “London might be continuing to lag, but green shoots are visible now. The capital isn’t used to being a sideshow to the rest of the country but that’s what the peculiar set of circumstances over the past 18 months has delivered. 

“It won’t last though. While annual price growth softens as a whole nationally, demand is strengthening once more in London.

“By the end of the year we expect the narrative to have changed significantly, from one in which London has been the poor relation to a story of the traditional frontrunner regaining its crown, at least on relative terms. 

“That’s partly being powered by first-time buyers. Many young people and professionals still want to live in London, at least for a period, and the numbers of them beating a path to estate agents’ doors has shot up in the past couple of months. It’s no accident that passenger levels on the Tube are also back to pre-pandemic levels. We know who’s filling them. It’s back to the office time, buyers are rediscovering the capital and why it’s great to live there.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, says: “The market remains turbo-charged and agents now expect strong growth to continue over the next 12 months.

“Though the Stamp Duty holiday is gradually being phased out, the supply-demand imbalance remains a key driver of prices across the country.

“While the number of new-build homes coming to the market is gradually increasing, there is still much ground to be made up from the market closure last year, and this is one factor that could help moderate price growth later on down the line.

“As we go into the autumn, we can expect the housing market to track the growth of the economy as a whole. The overall picture should remain robust as employment grows, worker wages climb and the economy continues to bounce back from the dark days of the recession.

“Sub one per cent mortgage deals, government support for first time buyers and a dearth of housing stock means a snapback isn’t on the immediate horizon.

“All things point toward a sustained period of year-on-year growth.”

Joshua Raymond, Director at financial brokerage XTB, comments: “The Halifax House Price Index (UK’s longest running monthly house price series) came in below expectations at 0,7% compared to the expected increase of 1.1%.

“Prices have been under increasing pressure after the index showed significant signs of slowdown in the last couple of months after a fairly stable increase throughout Q2. As overall inflation pressures continue to be a key issue followed by the Bank of England, along with other central banks, a continuation of the current trends could see the central bank stepping in and taking action even sooner than was previously expected.

“While a return to work and easing of lockdowns was expected to significantly boost property prices, it seems as if there are still some major hurdles the UK economy has to contend with.”

House prices increased in July but growth has begun to cool off annually, reports Halifax

Although UK house prices increased again in July, annual growth within the property market appears to be cooling off, the latest Halifax House Price Index shows.

The highlights include:

  • Annual house price inflation is at 7.6% compared to 8.7% in June
  • The average price of a UK property is now £261,221, up 0.4% in July
  • Wales records strongest house price growth since 2005

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, comments within the report: “Latest industry figures show instructions for sale are falling and estate agents are experiencing a drop in their available stock. This general lack of supply should help to support prices in the near-term, as will the exceptionally low cost of borrowing and continued strong customer demand.”

“We are seeing on the ground that the demand for properties is still high, and estate agents across the country are clamouring for stock – especially those elusive detached family homes that are so sought after at the moment.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if this cooling down of annual house price growth is indicative of a slight adjustment on the horizon that could see a return to a more stable market as we move out of the pandemic.

“If that does happen, we should expect the demand to stay high, as buyers who currently feel priced out in a competitive market will return to the market to get their feet on the property ladder.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “Just when you thought the wild ride of property price growth seen over the last year might be coming to an end, the market has bounced back yet again to register further positive movement.

“As we approach the third and final Stamp Duty holiday deadline it’s only natural that the rate of house price growth will ease as market activity reduces but despite this, we certainly look on course to finish the year on a very positive note.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “The house price boom continues and even the unpredictable British summertime can do little to dampen the enthusiasm of UK homebuyers and sellers as properties continue to sell incredibly quickly and for a very good price across the vast majority of the nation.”

Colby Short, Founder and CEO of, comments: “A shortage of stock, high demand and the lower cost of borrowing will keep the market buoyant far beyond September and the end of the Stamp Duty holiday. However, should interest rates start to creep up over the coming months, many homebuyers could find themselves in a tough spot having paid over the odds for a property in current market conditions.”

Ben Taylor, CEO of Keller Williams UK, comments: “Homebuyer confidence remains high at present despite many having to battle it out with multiple other buyers in order to secure a purchase. This continued imbalance between supply and demand will ensure house price growth remains buoyant over the summer months, although we can expect a slow in pace as we approach the final quarter due to a combination of the Stamp Duty holiday ending and wider seasonal influences.”

Lucy Pendletonproperty expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “The housing market is plateauing, not peaking, and London is getting its mojo back as the country returns to normal. Anyone who believes the market is going to take a tumble just because the Stamp Duty holiday has largely ended is writing their own epitaph.

“A softer annual growth rate is simply a symptom of the pressure coming off buyers a little. There’s no longer a reason to compromise on price for the sake of speed. Whereas, before, they had minutes to make a decision, they now have the luxury of a few days in many cases to make up their minds. Demand is still strong and there remains a shortage of stock right across the country.

“The reality is that no one we’re dealing with is even mentioning the Stamp Duty holiday. It’s a distant memory, and many of those who realised they weren’t going to make the June deadline and stepped away, have returned, determined to make their move happen. There isn’t the same level of activity as there was four months ago but that was never going to be the case.

“London, which hasn’t seen prices grow as fast as the rest of the country since the pandemic began, is getting back on the front foot. Workers, particularly young professionals, are moving back into the centre of town. Employers are indicating it’s time to get back to work, and this generation have got the memo. The lettings market is off the chart and this is usually an early indication that there are heady days to come for the capital’s sales market too.

“Meanwhile, the phenomenon of escaping to the country seems to have burnt itself out. Those who were going to go, have gone. Everyone who remains belongs in the category of loving the idea but going sour on the expense and disruption involved. It’s very much like when you return from holiday with plans to buy a holiday home. You keep the dream alive for a couple of weeks and then real life takes over and it’s forgotten. It doesn’t help that you can now pay as much in Padstow as Putney.”

Nicky StevensonManaging Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “This data shows the era of ballooning house prices is not over yet, even if a little air is now slowly starting to hiss out of the market.

“While annual growth has softened slightly since the frenzied heyday of the Stamp Duty holiday, there is still a great wall of money coming into the market despite the phasing out of this much celebrated tax break.

“Super low interest rates, shrinking housing stock, greater mortgage availability and government support for buyers should mean house price growth remains resilient into the autumn.

“Buyers are still piling in, hungry for bigger homes with more space and gardens in areas rich with amenities, and only time will tell if this shift in demand away from cities has been exaggerated.

“Though house price growth in London remains sluggish at the moment, we are already seeing a rise in enquiries nationally for city boltholes and pied-à-terres.

“More people than ever desire a second home and there’s nothing like having a place right in the centre of it all.

“We expect the housing market across the UK will continue to mirror the robust performance of the economy at large as businesses take-off again following the lifting of restrictions.”

House prices hit another record high in latest Halifax House Price Index

The May 2021 House Price Index from Halifax reports that UK property prices continue to rise in 2021 as we head into the summer.

The highlights from the Halifax report include:

  • Annual house price inflation is now at its strongest level in nearly seven years
  • The average UK property price is £261,743, which is a new record high
  • Wales continues to be the region with the strongest price growth

Nationwide’s May House Price Index also reports house price growth is at the highest level in almost seven years.

George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents Radstock Property, comments: “May was a month of two halves. The first half was extremely busy as there was still a chance to purchase before the June Stamp Duty deadline. The second half of May and first week of June have been quieter, perhaps due to sunny weather, half term or everyone fleeing to Portugal. More likely, though, it is because there is no urgency as people have resigned themselves to missing the Stamp Duty deadline.

“Buyers now appear to be waiting to see what happens to the market after the end of June, possibly in the hope that prices will start to fall. This is especially the case in the sub-£800k bracket. It might take a few months to see how things pan out from July onwards. It will not be as simple as reducing asking prices, or indeed offers, by £15,000, as the Stamp Duty holiday was about sentiment as much as money and the fundamentals remain strong. 

“I don’t believe the property market is in a bubble, but it has certainly benefited from Government meddling in the form of the Stamp Duty holiday and mortgage guarantee scheme. We’ve effectively had two years rolled into one due to Government intervention. Looking forward, the fundamentals have not changed, namely money is cheap, it’s still cheaper to own than to rent and there is a profound lack of stock.”

Andrew Montlake, Managing Director of the independent mortgage broker Coreco, comments: “There is talk that the property market will fall flat on its face the moment the Stamp Duty holiday ends. That’s not going to happen. COVID-19 has triggered a socio-corporate shift that will drive transactions for some time yet as people seek more space to work remotely and proximity to the office becomes less important. The future of the property market, in the short to medium term, will be inextricably linked to our post-pandemic lifestyles.

“The pandemic has thrown the ‘location, location, location’ mantra that applied to the property market for so long into the dustbin of history. In the short-term, the Government’s mortgage guarantee scheme will continue to support demand among first-time buyers, and this will ripple up through the market and maintain a certain level of transactions. We’re not expecting a material fall in prices in the short- to medium-term, as supply is so low and money cheap, but a minor correction may be on the cards.”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “It’s great to see a changing of the guard in terms of the regions driving current house price performance. While London and the South East have traditionally acted as the predominant indicators of market health, it’s now the turn of Wales and much of the North to take centre stage.

“This regional acceleration has been largely driven by a far more affordable property price and a Stamp Duty saving that has allowed many buyers to increase their purchasing potential.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “Despite the prospect of a Stamp Duty saving now unlikely for many homebuyers the market continues to move forward at pace, driven by an appetite for homeownership not seen since before the financial crisis. While the expiry of the Stamp Duty holiday is expected to have some impact, it’s unlikely to derail a market that continues to see buyers enter in their droves, buoyed by low interest rates and 95% mortgage availability.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “It’s probably unfair to say London is lagging behind where the current property market boom is concerned, considering it was already streets ahead of the rest, to begin with. The higher price of property in the capital means that any increase is always going to be more measured but to assume the London market is on its knees couldn’t be further from the reality.

“Transactions are starting to climb, bolstered by both a return to the workplace and an influx of foreign buyers, and these influences will only boost the London market further as the year goes on.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “Enjoy the boom while it lasts because if history has taught us anything, a bust is likely to follow. The government’s insistence on artificially fuelling house prices, not only with a Stamp Duty holiday extension but now in the form of 95% mortgages and a rehash of the Help to Buy scheme, is irresponsible, to say the least.

“With the market already buckling under the pressure, it’s only a matter of time before it gives in, bringing property values down with it.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “House prices have done the treble with a third consecutive month of record highs and the stage is set for a most unusual summer.

“The inability of Britons to go on holiday means there’s no distraction now from executing that ambitious move to a larger home. We’re entering a time of year when school holidays and foreign trips normally force the market to drop to a slightly slower pace.  

“That’s not necessarily going to happen this year and sustained, strong demand over the next few months could have ramifications when the market cools in the autumn, delivering on paper what might look like a more rapid slow down.

“The sluggish figures for London still don’t tell the full story. House price growth in the capital is not exceptional as a whole, but it is still being powered by the same race for space that is driving the national market. Many buyers just can’t get what they want within budget after a relatively strong decade of gains. Location has become less important and space more so. 

“Prices are being routinely bid up on desirable properties and those selling the right home in London are matching the pace of the national market, achieving annual growth of more than 10%. It’s just not happening across the board and homes with as many flaws as ceilings are continuing to struggle. 

“Buyers will pay top dollar but only for the right property, otherwise it’s just not worth moving for many.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “This market is moving so fast that if you blink, it increases in value. It is incredible to watch when desire wrests control away from other factors during periods of exceptionally high demand like this and it could be about to get even busier.

“There are still some nervous homeowners out there who have been waiting for restrictions to ease before making their move, threatening to ratchet up the level of competition even higher over the next couple of months. 

“If the unlocking goes ahead later this month, this new blood, which until now has been cautious due to the pandemic, will enter the market and there will be even more buyers chasing the must-have properties of the year, namely detached homes with plenty of outside space. 

“Stamp Duty relief will be scaled back at the end of June but don’t expect this to have much impact. The behaviour of buyers driving house price growth at the top end nationwide still supports the view that they are solely focused on the horizon and not concerned with saving a relatively small amount of money on a purchase. 

“If the change to the Stamp Duty relief creates even a wrinkle in July that would come as a bit of a surprise.

“The market normally has a lull in the summer months but, now almost all foreign holidays appear to be off, there’s nothing stopping the freight train that is unbridled demand from crashing straight through June, July and August. It would take someone with a lot of courage to bet against this run of records being extended in June and even July.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, comments: “Britain’s estate agents are almost running out of homes to sell as the moving frenzy continues to gather pace!

“Increased demand coupled with a shortage of properties for sale have caused prices to soar higher than the savings made from the Stamp Duty holiday, meaning many houses are selling for a premium. 

“While you’re enjoying the summer sun, spare a thought for the poor conveyancers who are overwhelmed by an epic backlog of paperwork.

“The slow phasing out of the Stamp Duty holiday is unlikely to calm the market, and house prices are likely to keep rising for the foreseeable future.

“Whatever happens, the rest of the summer has the potential to be a topsy-turvy time for the property market.”

UK house prices continue to reach record high, Halifax House Price Index shows

Halifax has released its April 2021 House Price Index, showing that house prices were 8.2% higher than the year before. The average UK house price is now £258,204.

The report findings also show:

  • House prices were 1.4% higher in April 2021 than in March 2021
  • House prices were 0.9% higher in the latest quarter (February to April) than in the quarter before (November to January)
  • House prices were 8.2% higher than in April 2020

Property industry reactions to Halifax House Price Index

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “Rishi’s rabbit out of the hat in the form of a stamp duty holiday really has been magic where the revival of the UK property market is concerned. House prices are booming, driven by a surge of buyers keen to save while also taking advantage of the continued low rate of borrowing.

“The question is, of course, whether this clever trick will help rejuvenate the market in the long term, once the curtain finally falls on Mr Sunak’s tax reprieve”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “Yet more mammoth rates of house price growth as the market continues to run red hot in the wake of the stamp duty holiday extension. While this has certainly been the touchpaper, we’re now seeing a number of other contributing factors helping to boost market activity. 

“The lifting of lockdown restrictions and the vaccine rollout has further buoyed market sentiment, causing more buyers and sellers to enter the fray with confidence. As we enter the busiest time of year for property sales, expect more of the same as transacting remains very much on the agenda for the UK.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “The UK property market is currently set to warp speed, make no mistake about it. We’re not just seeing a market recovering from last year’s pandemic paralysis, these current rates of house price growth are exceptional against any backdrop. 

“With the fuel tank full to the brim, it’s likely that any natural correction to this explosive rate of growth will come many, many months after the stamp duty holiday deadline and the likelihood is, this current rate of growth will remain throughout 2021.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented: “Yet further record rates of house price growth might seem like good news on the face of it, but this is far from the case. The UK property market is currently buckling under the pressure of yet another Government initiative to artificially fuel demand, without as much as a thought as to addressing supply.

“Not only this, but many sales are hanging in the balance due to a considerable market backlog which has added further uncertainty to an already archaic and unpredictable transaction process. 

“These aren’t the foundations of a strong and stable housing market and come the end of the stamp duty holiday, we can expect the gloss to come off quickly revealing what is likely to be a considerable mess.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “This market isn’t standing still for a second. The feeding frenzy for property was already feeling pretty ferocious but then along comes another big leap in the annual rate of growth. The new record high also leaves clear water behind it and the previous peak. 

“In a blazing hot seller’s market like this, most buyers don’t even compare prices locally to make their offer, they work out what can afford and they go for it. Timing is crucial and not wasting time is essential.

“At times like this, personality counts too. If a seller knows they’re going to get the price they need, then striking up a rapport with a vendor can really pay dividends. 

“First-time buyers are unfortunately seeing the market run away from them but, in their price bracket, the significant amount of accidental savings many will have accumulated over the past year will count for as much as the stamp duty relief, which has already been swallowed up by price increases since last summer.” 

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “The air is thin up here and, even though all buyers know in their hearts that things will calm down and growth will slow later this year, they are still frantically bidding up prices. Buyers need to be incredibly determined to succeed in a market like this. 

“Growth over 8% on an annual basis is always a massive vote of confidence in the country, its economy, its ability to create and protect jobs and its housing market. 

“Incredibly, the stage is set for this rally to continue and the market may be about to get its own vaccine bounce, like the one delivered to Boris Johnson this week. That broader optimism is still being complemented by improving weather, the imminent loosening of Covid restrictions, low interest rates, a yearning for more space and the fact that many homeowners have saved thousands of pounds not being able to go anywhere. 

“This won’t be the last record high we’ll see this year by a long stretch, and the figures next month will start to compare more impressively with the lull in growth caused by the first lockdown.”

Halifax House Price Index for February 2021 released

Published On: March 10, 2021 at 9:06 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,

Halifax has released its latest House Price Index, which indicates a slight housing market slowdown for February.

The highlights of the report include:

  • House prices in February 2021 were 0.1% lower than in January 2021
  • In the last three months of December to February house prices were 0.5% higher than in the three months previous of September to November
  • Houses prices were 5.2% higher in February 2021 than the same month last year

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, comments within the report: “Having enjoyed an extremely strong period of activity in the second half of last year, the housing market continued its softer start to 2021, with average prices down very slightly (-0.1%) compared to January. However, with annual house price inflation currently at +5.2%, property values remain comfortably higher than 12 months ago, when February was the last full month before lockdown. 

“The housing market has been at something of a crossroads at the start of this year, with upcoming events key to determining the path of activity and prices over the next few months. The government’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday – one of the main drivers of demand from homemovers during the pandemic – has removed a great deal of uncertainty for buyers with transactions yet to complete. 

“The new mortgage guarantee scheme is another welcome development from this week’s Budget. Whilst mortgage approvals have reached record highs in recent months, hitting levels not seen since before the financial crisis of 2008, raising a deposit continues to be the single biggest hurdle for first-time buyers to overcome. 

“In the longer-term, the performance of the housing market remains inextricably linked to the health of the wider economy. The pace and extent of recovery are still highly uncertain, and much will depend on the ongoing success of the UK’s vaccination roll out. 

“Though there is the likelihood of an economic ‘bounceback’ from lockdown, with households not unduly impacted by the pandemic deploying the significant reserves of savings that they have built-up, higher unemployment is likely to limit new buyer demand. Therefore, we would not expect the level of growth seen in house prices over the past year to be sustained throughout 2021.” 

Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove, has commented on the report: “According to the latest Halifax House Price Index figures, average house prices in the UK are finally beginning to fall, dropping by 0.3% in January compared to December, now standing at £251,968. This marks the biggest monthly decrease since April 2020.

“Although small, the drop in house prices signals that the housing market is finally slowing down after a stellar year in 2020. This is also shown by the annual rate of house price inflation seeing its lowest level since August, as well as the total stock held by estate agents rising to its highest level since before the EU referendum in 2016.

“We are also approaching the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline in March – something that surged the growing demand for properties and consequent high house prices during 2020. On average, it can take between 12-21 weeks in the UK from offer acceptance to property completion, therefore many people looking to buy a home now are likely to understand that they won’t reap the benefits of the Stamp Duty Holiday and are holding off from buying. We foresee house prices to fall even further from April onwards, so waiting until then is a wise move for buyers.

“The future of the property market, and in fact the economy, remains uncertain throughout 2021. Increasing unemployment and a shattered economy should indicate a slow housing market, but if we have learnt anything from 2020 it’s that the housing market remains resilient. Lockdown has shifted the way the nation views property, and we still expect to see ongoing demand for bigger properties in rural locations throughout this year – but at lesser prices than in 2020.”

Halifax House Price Index shows house prices beginning to drop in January

Published On: February 9, 2021 at 9:44 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,,

The latest House Price Index from Halifax shows a slight decrease in house prices during January 2021.

The highlights from Halifax’s report include:

  • House prices in January were 0.3% lower than in December
  • House prices were 1.6% higher in the quarter of November to January than in the previous quarter of August to October
  • House prices were 5.4% higher than in January 2020

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, comments within the report: “The average UK house price slipped by -0.3% in January, the biggest monthly fall since April last year. Whilst this pushed the typical property value down to its lowest level since October, at just under £252,000, prices are around £13,000 higher than a year ago. 

“There are some early signs that the upturn in the housing market could be running out of steam, with the annual rate of house price inflation cooling to its lowest level since August. Industry figures for agreed sales remain well above pre-pandemic levels but new instructions to sell have decreased noticeably, and total stock held by estate agents has risen to its highest level since before the EU referendum in 2016. 

“The Stamp Duty holiday has undoubtedly helped to fuel growing demand amongst households for larger properties. However, given the current time to completion across the market, transactions in the early part of 2021 probably don’t include many borrowers who expect to benefit from the stamp duty reprieve. 

“How far and how deep any slowdown proves to be is a challenge to predict given the prevailing uncertainty created by the pandemic. With swathes of the economy still shuttered, and joblessness continuing to edge higher, on the surface this points to slower market activity and downward price pressures in the near-term. 

“That said, we saw the power of homeowners to drive the market in the second half of last year as many people looked to find new properties with greater space, spurred on by increased time spent at home. Such structural demand changes, coupled with any further policy interventions by government, could yet sustain underlying market activity for some time to come.” 

Read the full Halifax House Price Index report here:

Halifax House Price Index
Halifax House Price Index shows house prices beginning to drop in January

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “The lockdown is playing its part in keeping prices as high as they are because it has reduced supply, fuelling greater competition among buyers for what is available. 

“The Budget is only around the corner now and, while it remains to be seen whether the Chancellor will extend the stamp duty tax break, he has a big deficit and many other levers to pull that could affect the market in much more significant ways.

“Politicians are used to hearing people cry foul when handouts end. Treasury minister Jesse Norman told a Parliamentary debate earlier this week that the stamp duty holiday has done its job. Therefore the focus could quite quickly shift to other issues, such as capital gains tax. 

“The stamp duty holiday has now faded as a force behind agreed sale prices, though some buyers with smaller chains are still hoping to complete before the deadline.” 

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “This is as muted a response to the faded hopes of a stamp duty tax break that sellers could hope to see. 

“We were being led to believe we’d have to put our heads in our hands in January and brace for impact because of the end of the stamp duty relief but the market’s mechanics pointed to a different result all along. 

“Rents have fallen, putting negative pressure on prices and first-time buyers won’t pay stamp duty on purchases up to £300,000 once the scheme ends anyway, just as they did before. For almost everyone else, apart from those at the top of the chain, the lost relief can be clawed back by renegotiating if necessary. 

“It is sellers, not buyers, who are a little quieter at the moment. A lot of people with children have decided against listing their property for sale while they’re homeschooling and their home looks like a bomb has hit it. There are still plenty of first-time buyers looking and we’re just five weeks away from when people’s gardens start to look better and we always see a rush of activity after spring has sprung, 

“The fact the Chancellor hasn’t ruled an extension to the stamp duty holiday either in or out is helping to create another wait-and-see period for both vendors and buyers. However, properties are still getting a very high level of engagement online. This is always good news and will manifest itself when we have a bit more clarity after the Budget. People are still dreaming of moving to larger properties, and one home we listed recently at nearly £4m received 8,000 views in 14 days. Most of these buyers would not be able to stretch that far but it tells us that the appetite is still there and will be reflected in activity over the summer.

“The bellwether London market has peaked for now and the shift in behaviour of landlords last month is evidence of that. Many landlords decided they would cash in on record prices late last year but were asking too much for homes that weren’t in great condition. Since mid-January, a significant number of them have now given up trying to sell and, having got tenants out, are now trying to let them again. Their gamble hasn’t paid off and this is weighing on supply even further.”

Adnan Shah, founder of ethical real estate investment manager Buraq London, comments: “The modest falls in prices we’re seeing can be blamed on the impending end of the stamp duty holiday, and the chances of an extension are dwindling by the day.

“There have been two significant jumps in residential prices since the general election. First the Boris bounce, and then a post-COVID rally caused by pent-up demand and people rethinking their living situations. 

“This isn’t a market that needs puffing up any more. The threat of valuations becoming detached from reality should concern buyers, landlords and investors alike. 

“However, the vaccine rollout is proceeding better than expected, and if the engines of the economy are firing on all cylinders by the summer, the benefits could keep the housing market purring in the coming months.”

Nationwide’s January House Price Index also reports a slowdown in house price growth.