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House price decline slows-6-May

House price decline slows-6-May

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 27/01/2010
First Published: 06/05/2009

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
The rate of decline in the UK property market appears to be slowing down while affordability has increased.

House prices declined by 1.7 per cent in April, steadying slightly from the near two per cent fall in March, the Halifax price index has revealed.

The quarterly rate of decline has also eased which, combined with the Bank of England's figures that show an upturn in the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchase, suggest some tentative signs of stabilisation.

The increase in the stamp duty threshold has also benefited buyers in all regions across the UK.

However, house prices are still 17.7 per cent down on a year-by-year basis, with the average property now costing almost £155,000 – a level last seen in April 2004.

In addition, there are further signs that the downturn in the housing market may have eased, after Rightmove revealed its business had been trading ahead of expectations in the first four months of the year.

The property website said there had been a significant decline in the amount of estate agents leaving the industry, while enquiries to advertisers were at record levels.

Use of the website by homebuyers was also revealed to be running at a similar level to that seen immediately before the downturn.

"The outlook for the UK property market is cautiously positive albeit from an unprecedentedly low level of activity," the statement concluded, adding that the availability of mortgage lending would be a key factor in determining whether and how fast conditions improve.

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