House prices increased during May, but are slightly down when compared to a year ago, figures released today show.
Halifax 's House Price Index reveals that house prices across the UK rose by 0.5% in May, taking the value of the average home to £160,941. Over the quarter prices were 0.8% higher than the previous three month period.
However, when compared to a year ago prices have fallen slightly by 0.1%.
"Whilst there has been a modest improvement in the trend for house prices recently, the current average UK price is very similar to the levels both a year ago and at the beginning of this year," said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.
"We expect this situation to continue with prices likely to still be around today's levels at the end of 2012 as the ongoing tough economic environment constrains housing demand."
Proof that the end of the stamp duty holiday on 24 March had encouraged first-time buyers to bring forward their house purchases can be found in figures showing house sales fell by 18% between March and April. However, sales still improved on a year ago, up 3% from April 2011's figure.
"Recent monthly house sales figures have clearly been affected by the ending of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March. Overall, the trend for sales - like that for prices – appears to be one of broad stability."
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