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House prices dip 0.5%

UK house prices fell by 0.5 per cent in June according to the latest Halifax house price index.

The lender found that the average house price dropped to £157, 713 in June, down from £158,565 in May. Halifax says house prices have now dropped 15 per cent in the last 12 months.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis says: ” On a quarterly basis, the 1.9 per cent fall in house prices in the second quarter was the smallest since 2008 quarter one. These figures provide evidence that the underlying pace of house price decline is easing.”

Ellis says there are further indications of a modest improvement in sales activity, albeit at a very low level – he says industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchase increased for the fourth successive month in May.

He says: “Improvements in affordability and low interest rates have stimulated housing demand. This, together with a low level of properties available for sale, has helped to stabilise activity and reduce the underlying rate of house price decline in recent months.

“Overall, we expect to see a continuing mixed pattern of monthly house price rises and falls over the remainder of 2009.”

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