A four year high but concern over virus.

House prices in September were 7.3 per cent higher than a year earlier – the highest house price inflation since June 2016.

The Halifax figures show that on a monthly basis, house prices in September were 1.6 per cent higher than in August.  And over the third quarter of the year, house prices were 3.3 per cent higher than in the preceding three months.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, says: “The average UK house price is now approaching £250,000 after September saw a third consecutive month of substantial gains. The annual rate of change will naturally draw attention, with the increase of 7.3 per cent the strongest since mid-2016.”

But he warns that context is important with the annual comparison being September 2019 when Brexit uncertainty was dogging the market and deterring transactions.

London agent and former RICS residential supremo Jeremy Leaf says things may be slowing a little, however.

Demand has lost a little momentum over the past few weeks as the resurgence in Covid-19 and new restrictions on businesses is making some buyers a little more nervous, especially as there is more property available for sale.”

“We expect demand to remain fairly solid but transaction times to lengthen a little as some of the economic realities start to bite.”

And housing market analyst Anthony Codling warned of a downside to the dramatic rise.

“There are risks that those rushing to buy during the stamp duty holiday [until March] may be buying in haste and repenting in their leisure as the Halifax advises caution saying it is ‘highly unlikely that the housing market will continue to remain immune to the economic impact of the pandemic’.  In this environment, it is difficult to see the government’s Generation Buy scheme gaining momentum without significant taxpayer-funded guarantees.”