House buyers will be left confused by the latest figures from the Nationwide Building Society, which show house prices are now rising at their fastest rate for four years.
According to the Nationwide, house prices rose by 1.2% in April after a 0.4% increase in March; confusingly, the Halifax reported a fall in prices of 1.3% over the past two months.
The Nationwide also reported that house prices are now 10.9% higher than 12 months ago, the highest rate of annual growth since April 2010.
Average house prices
There is now also a significant difference between the average house prices reported by the three main surveys.
In April the Nationwide put the average value of a home at £183,577. The Halifax report a significantly lower figure at £177,648, whilst in March, the latest month figures are available, the Land Registry put the figure at £169,124, nearly £15,000 below the Nationwide’s figure.
Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “After several months of moderation, the pace of house price growth picked up in April, with prices rising by 1.2% during the month. As a result, annual house price growth has reached double digits for the first time in four years, with the price of a typical home 10.9% higher than April 2013.”
Gardener continued: “The introduction of Mortgage Market Review (MMR) measures could have an impact on activity levels in the months ahead as the new measures bed down. However, underlying demand is likely to remain robust, as mortgage rates remain close to all-time lows and as consumer confidence improves further on the back of stronger labour market conditions and the brighter economic outlook.”
“Earnings growth is beginning to pick up, with wage increases finally outpacing the rise in the cost of living in February. Nevertheless, house price growth is outstripping income growth by a wide margin. The risk is that unless supply accelerates significantly, affordability will become stretched.”
Housing experts will be keen to see the figures from the Land Registry for April, due to be released on 30th May and whether they support the figures from the Halifax or Nationwide.