House price growth beat expectations last month rising 0.7 per cent month-on-month, according to Nationwide’s latest figures.
It brings year-on-year growth to 6.9 per cent from 6.4 per cent in January, beating the consensus 5.5 per cent. It more than offsets the 0.2 per cent monthly decline recorded at the start of the year.
No doubt the lack of supply is driving up prices as the reimposition of lockdown restrictions slowed the number of homes being listed for sale.
“This increase is a surprise. It seemed more likely that annual price growth would soften further ahead of the end of the stamp duty holiday, which prompted many people considering a house move to bring forward their purchase,” Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist said.
The stamp duty holiday, introduced last summer, is not due to end until the end of the month but there are reports the Chancellor could extend the deadline in tomorrow’s budget.
“It is counterintuitive that prices haven’t cooled rapidly ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline but buyers have been pretty canny,” Lucy Pendleton, property expert at estate agent James Pendleton said.
“They cottoned onto the Chancellor’s awkward dilemma quicker than they’ve been given credit for and have been banking on him choosing not to steal defeat from the jaws of victory by bringing the hammer down on their fingers.”
“Even if they’re wrong in their political calculations, most buyers have assumed they’ll get the discount in some form, even if that is a knock down price won through renegotiation if the scheme does shut on time.”