|M/M % change||0.9%||2.6%||-1.4%||-1.5%|
|Yr/Yr % change- 3 mo moving av||9.5%||10.1%||9.7%|
According to the Halifax, average house prices in March rose a surprisingly strong 2.6 percent versus February when they dropped a marginally steeper revised 1.5 percent. March's gain was the sharpest since August last year and put annual HPI growth over the first quarter at 10.1 percent, up from 9.7 percent in the three months to February and fractionally above the 8-10 percent range seen since the start of 2015.
The quarterly increase in the HPI was 2.9 percent, down a tick from last time but still its second firmest reading since August 2015. Changes to stamp duty on second homes this month almost certainly provided a boost to demand and April may well see some unwinding. Nonetheless, market fundamentals remain robust. In particular, mortgage rates are around record lows and, despite a third successive rise in the new instructions by home sellers in February, supply is still very tight.
Today's figures from the Halifax compare with the March report from the Nationwide released last week which showed prices 0.8 percent higher on the month and 5.7 percent above their level a year ago.
Halifax House Price Index is the UK's longest running monthly house price measure with data covering the whole country going back to January 1983. The Index is based on the largest monthly sample of mortgage data, typically covering around 15,000 house purchases per month, and covers the whole calendar month.
Home values affect much in the economy - especially the housing and consumer sectors. Periods of rising home values encourage new construction while periods of soft home prices can damp housing starts. Changes in home values play key roles in consumer spending and in consumer financial health. During the first half of this decade sharply rising home prices boosted how much home equity households held. In turn, this increased consumers' ability to spend, based on wealth effects and from being able to draw upon expanding home equity lines of credit.
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