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House price growth eases after rush in March, says Halifax

houses in Devon Image copyright Thinkstock

Further evidence has emerged of a slow-down in UK house prices in April, as the Halifax said growth eased to 9.2% compared to last year.

A month ago, the Halifax said house prices were rising by 10.1%.

The slow-down follows a rush to beat the new stamp duty tax rates for buy to let and second homes at the start of April, the Halifax said.

Compared with March, prices actually fell in April - by 0.8% - although the monthly figures can be very volatile.

A record 165,400 UK properties were sold in March ahead of the tax changes, which was 11% more than the previous peak in January 2007, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Previously the Nationwide said annual house price inflation dipped from 5.7% in March to 4.9% in April.

Dr Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Economics, said that uncertainty over the EU referendum was also likely to "rein in" housing market activity for the next few months.

"Nevertheless, we expect housing market activity to regain limited momentum in the second half of 2016 on the assumption that a vote to stay in the EU reduces uncertainty and supports a pick-up in economic activity," he said.

'Imbalance'

"Current market conditions remain very tight as the severe imbalance between supply and demand persists," said Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist.

"This situation, combined with low interest rates and rising employment and real earnings, should continue to push house prices up over the coming months."

However, the Halifax also said that confidence in the housing market was at its lowest level in over a year.

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