House prices rose 0.6 per cent on a quarterly basis to reach £163,845 in December but were down 0.3 per cent over the preceeding 12 months.
Average prices increased by 0.6 per cent between October and December 2012, compared with the preceding quarter, and by 1.3 per cent on a monthly basis, according to the latest Halifax House Price index
Although prices were found to have fallen 0.3 per cent on an annual basis, this marks the smallest annual decline since May 2012 when prices fell 0.1 per cent.
Overall, there were six monthly rises and six decreases over the course of 2012.
Transaction levels increased from 75,000 in July to 80,000 in November. Sales in the three months to November were 2 per cent higher than over the same period in 2011.
Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says: “There was evidence of a firming in the housing market in the final few months of 2012. Prices in the three months from October to December were 0.6 per cent higher than in the preceding three months. This was the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend for seven months.
“Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012. On an annual basis, prices in the final quarter of 2012 were marginally lower than in the last three months of 2011.”
Looking ahead, Ellis predicts prices will remain stable in 2013, with average prices expected to finish the year close to where they started.