GB: Halifax HPI

Fri Apr 07 02:30:00 CDT 2017

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
M/M % change 0.2% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Yr/Yr % change- 3 mo moving av 4.0% 3.8% 5.1%

House prices were unchanged in March according to the new Halifax survey. The flat reading matched a downwardly revised February outturn and means that prices have now not risen for three months.

Over the first quarter as a whole, the HPI was up a minimal 0.1 percent, its weakest print since a 0.1 percent dip in the third quarter of last year. Compared with a year ago, prices in the latest three months were still up 3.8 percent but this was down sharply from 5.1 percent in December-February and the lowest mark since March-May 2013.

Supply remains very tight and close to historic lows but with sales and mortgage approvals falling 1 percent on the month in February, demand appears to be settling onto a softer growth trajectory. Record low mortgage rates should help but house prices on average could struggle over coming months as the economy cools and Brexit uncertainty helps to check prospective moves.

The Halifax House Price Index (HPI) 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. In March 2016 Markit announced that it would be acquiring the Halifax HPI from Lloyds Banking Group. Halifax continues to publish the index on behalf of Markit and both the name and methodology remain unchanged.

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.