Another sign that stamp duty deadline sent buy-to-let investors into a buying frenzy

 
Emma Haslett
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"OMG I managed to get a buy-to-let property before the stamp duty deadline" (Source: Getty)

More proof George Osborne's stamp duty wizard wheeze served to push up prices in the run-up to the deadline, after new figures showed UK house prices rose by the most in at least a year in March.

Halifax's house price index, published this morning, showed prices rose 10.1 per cent in the year to March, up from 9.7 per cent in February.

In fact, annual house price growth has been pretty much steadily increasing over the past year - from 8.1 per cent a year in March 2015 to 9.7 per cent in both January and February.

Read more: Six reasons why London's property market won't collapse this year

Halifax's research now puts the average house price at £214,811.

In the three months to March, prices rose 2.9 per cent, down slightly from three per cent in February, while the month-on-month figure - which tends to be volatile - rose to 2.6 per cent, from minus 1.5 per cent in February.

Analysts have pointed out the spike was largely thanks to a deadline on 1 April, when new rules pushing up stamp duty on buy-to-let homes came into effect.

“Noone should confuse the return of double-digit annual price growth with universal rude health in the property market," said Nicholas Finn, executive director of buying agents Garrington Property Finders.

Read more: Buy-to-let will be tougher in London after lending clampdown

“There’s every chance that these strong March figures represent the last hurrah of Britain’s army of buy-to-let landlords."

"The peak of the housing market may have been reached, as far as prices are concerned, or very close to it," added Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

"Demand from landlords and second homeowners keen to complete before the April stamp duty hike has now fallen away so it will be interesting to see what April’s house price index reveals. However, we don’t expect prices to fall by as much as some predict because of the number of first-time buyers in the market taking advantage of low interest rates." He's not the only one who thinks that...

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