According to the bank, the annual house price in February was 5.2 per cent higher than it was in the same month last year, but this represented a decline from the 5.4 per cent year-on-year rise witnessed in January. Indeed, February actually saw a 0.1 per cent month-on-month decline in prices.
The news will be of considerable interest to those seeking property for sale in Retford, as this will raise the question of how quickly they should look to purchase a new home.
In theory, if prices will continue to fall there would be a good reason to wait. However, if the February data simply indicates a slower increase it will still be better to buy sooner rather than later.
Commenting on the latest figures, Halifax managing director Russell Galley said the housing market has been at a “crossroads” at the start of the year, with so much uncertainty about the prospects for the months ahead.
However, he said, the Budget decision last week to extend the stamp duty holiday, which Mr Galley described as “one of the main drivers of demand from home movers during the pandemic” has helped to remove “a great deal of uncertainty for buyers with transactions yet to complete”.
The Halifax boss also predicted the new mortgage guarantee scheme would have a positive impact by making it easier for first-time buyers to raise a deposit.
However, he said it was still unlikely that the strong performance of the housing market in 2020 would be maintained through this year, as economic recovery generated by a successful vaccination programme and end to lockdown will be offset by higher unemployment.
Nationwide’s House Price Index provided a slightly different picture to Halifax, suggesting prices rose by 0.7 per cent in February after a small decline in January.
The findings had been described as a “surprise” by Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner, coming at a time when the stamp duty holiday was coming to an end and it was not yet clear of it would be extended.