The Halifax house price index shows that the average house price in the UK remained stable throughout March.
After a promising start to the year and record highs in February, the average house price over the first quarter of 2020 is 2.1% higher than last year, and if you take the data for March alone that figure jumps to an encouraging 3% (read the full report here).
Lockdown in the UK has pretty much put a stop to all economic activity, and that situation began on March 23rd. We can’t say for sure if this has been reflected in the Halifax house price index, but either way, it should provide a reason for optimism in these difficult times.
Before the UK was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, we were in a promising situation. There was a great sense of optimism after the Conservatives were elected. Russell Galley, CEO of Halifax, says in the report that we must expect house prices to fall in April. That’s because almost all market activity has stopped and the public is, quite rightly, following the government’s advice to stay at home and avoid all unnecessary contact with others.
It’s far too early to predict the long term economic and social effects of the coronavirus lockdown, but what we can say for sure is that the situation will continue and as fewer transactions take place it will make house price data increasingly unreliable – due to the smaller amount of data available.
The market is going to take a hit in the coming weeks and months, but surely it’s all the better for having been in such a strong position beforehand.
Business solves problems and deals with crisis every day. Ian Bythell, company director, explains:
“The organisations that are in the best position to get through this are the ones that adapt, and that’s what we’re doing. Although the offices are shut, we’re still offering a lot of services to the public. We can do remote valuations with video calls and also with the online tool valuation tool on our website, and we’ve got lots of info on the news page about how to prepare your house for viewings once the lockdown is over. For buyers, we’ve got the 360-degree virtual tours and we can even organise remote viewings.”
Lockdown has thrown the country, and the property market with it, into uncharted territory. The advice from the experts is to expect a drop in house prices, but thankfully the market has been in a good position up until now. It might not seem like it, but there’s room for optimism, especially with the organisations that can adapt their business model a little to serve the public better.