UK house prices remain steady

UK property prices remain steady, according to Nationwide’s latest House Price Index, despite a notable increase in mortgage approvals so far this year.

The report shows a minor increase in property prices of 0.3% in February, matching the rate of change shown in the previous month. Over the year however, this represents an increase of 4.8%, up from 4.4% in January.

The number of mortgage approvals rose sharply to almost 75,000, the highest number since January 2014. Nationwide’s Chief Economist, Robert Gardner, suggested that the increase could, in part, be connected to the imminent hike in Stamp Duty on second homes, which will come into effect in April.

The rush to get purchases over the line before the deadline could lead to a drop in approvals over the spring/summer period. However, looking ahead the report suggests that improving market conditions and low borrowing costs will result in a continuing increase in activity.

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