This morning Halifax released their latest house price index for the month of March, detailing a monthly price increase of 2.6%.

According to Halifax the average UK house price is now £214,811 and the result of this 2.6% increase means that the slight drop in February has been cancelled out and prices are up across Q1 of 2016 by 2.9% as a whole.

This is largely driven by the price increase of UK flats, particularly in London, as UK buyers looked to secure a property purchase on buy to lets and second homes, ahead of April’s stamp duty change deadline.

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Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented:

“Despite the drop in prices reported last month UK house prices seem to be finding their feet again for 2016 and the result of this 2.6% increase in March means the price cool in February is essentially null and void.

This rise in house prices shows no sign of diluting and, indeed, demand has risen at a greater rate than for some time with house sales up 13% on this time last year. Great for estate agents, less so for those trying to clamber on to the housing ladder.

Low interest rates, more competitive lending products and, as ever, an acute shortage of housing stock overall, all combine to demonstrate that each year the average property is gaining over £20,000 in value and therefore earning more than many people do.

The most influential factor in this 2.9% increase during the start of the year and, the 10.1% difference when compared to this time last year, is almost certainly April’s stamp duty deadline. This is evident with flat prices having risen at their sharpest rate since 2008 with prices up 57% compared to that of all other residential properties at 37%. Of course, the main driving factor of this increase is London, where 50% of all sales are accounted for by flats, compared to 17% across the rest of the UK.

Although it looks like good news for UK home-owners on the surface, this increase could be artificially inflated due to the stamp duty changes. When coupled with the fact that interest rates are still at a rock bottom and keeping the market buoyant, it’s hard to tell exactly how the market will go.

It will be interesting to see what happens next month once the stamp duty dust has settled and I wouldn’t be surprised if the UK property roller coaster shows another slight drop.”

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