House price bounce weighed down by costs 

The property market has a slight spring in its step, but it’s being weighed down by higher prices and unyielding mortgage rates, which meant house prices eased off in March.

There’s still some buyer enthusiasm animating the market, and Zoopla figures last week showed sales up 9%. Much of the monthly fall is due to the seasonal adjustment rather than buyers driving a hard bargain.

However, we’re still a long way from the kind of bounce sellers were hoping for in the spring. Mortgage approval levels are still around 15% lower than before the pandemic.

When you consider how many new For Sale signs have been going up around the country, it means sellers may still struggle to shift their properties.

Zoopla figures out last week showed that the stock of properties is up by a fifth, and they’re accepting an average discount of £10,000.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates are still rising. According to Moneyfacts, at the end of February, the average 2-year rate was 5.75% and by the end of March it was 5.8%.

This is hardly a spectacular ascent, but means anyone who was waiting for better rates to emerge will still be sitting on their hands.

At the same time higher house prices will mean that some buyers are stuck. Even with all the enthusiasm in the world a lack of affordability is squeezing them out of the market.  

Sarah Coles is head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown