House prices surge at fastest pace in 5 years

After the stamp duty holiday was extended, house prices surged at the fastest rate in five years.

New data from Halifax showed a 1.4% jump in house prices in April as there was a surge in buyers. The average selling price reached a record high of just over £258,000.

Russell Galley, Halifax’s managing director, said: “The stamp duty holiday continues to add impetus to an extremely active market, magnifying the current shortage of available homes as buyers aim to take advantage of the government scheme,”

“The influence of the stamp duty holiday will fade gradually over the coming months as it’s tapered out but low stock levels, low interest rates and continued demand is likely to continue to underpin prices in the market.”

“There is growing optimism in the long-term outlook of the UK economy as the vaccination programme continues at pace, yet we remain cautious about the medium-term prospects of the housing market.”

Nicky Stevenson, who is the managing director of the estate agent group Fine & Country, said: “The air is thin up here and, even though all buyers know in their hearts that things will calm down and growth will slow later this year, they are still frantically bidding up prices.

“Incredibly, the stage is set for this rally to continue and the market may be about to get its own vaccine bounce, like the one delivered to Boris Johnson this week. That broader optimism is still being complemented by improving weather, the imminent loosening of Covid restrictions, low-interest rates, a yearning for more space and the fact that many homeowners have saved thousands of pounds not being able to go anywhere.”