Another mixed picture for the housing market

UK house prices in the three months to October were 0.3% lower than in the preceding three months, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

This measure of the underlying trend has turned negative for the first time since June.

On a monthly basis, house prices increased by 1.2% in October. This continues the highly mixed pattern of monthly price movements this year. There have been five monthly rises, four falls and one month of no change.

The average UK house price in October was marginally higher than at the end of last year. The average price in October was £508 (or +0.3%) higher than in December 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis, at £163,311.

Annually, prices in October were 1.8% lower as measured by the average for the three months to October against the same period a year earlier. This is the lowest annual fall since December 2010 (-1.6%) and continues the improvement since May when prices were 4.2% lower.

Martin Ellis, housing economist, said: “The housing market has proved highly resilient in recent months despite the weak economic recovery and the deterioration in the outlook for both the UK and global economies.

“Despite these developments, house sales and the supply of properties for sale have remained very stable since late 2010. The prospect of exceptionally low official interest rates over the foreseeable future is likely to continue to support the market in the face of a very difficult economic climate.

“Both prices and activity levels are expected to remain close to current levels over the coming few months.”