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House prices ‘fluctuating widely’

House prices ‘fluctuating widely’

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 04/05/2012
First Published: 04/05/2012

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.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 end of the stamp duty holiday has contributed to wide monthly fluctuations in UK house prices, according to new figures.

House prices fell by 2.4% during April, figures from Halifax show, a complete reversal of fortunes in March when prices increased by 2.2%.

At the end of the month, the average cost of a property in the UK was £159,883.

The unpredictable plight of house prices has been driven by a rush of buyers looking to complete their deals before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Figures also show the total number of completed house sales in the first three months of 2012 was 11% higher than in the same period last year.

Sales were also the highest in the first quarter of any year since 2008.

Prices in the three months to April were 0.3% higher than in the previous quarter, marking the first rise in this measure for seven months.

Despite the slight improvement in the underlying trend in recent months, house prices continue to lack real direction with the current UK average price little different to where it was at the end of 2011.

"The ending of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March appears to have boosted home sales early this year as buyers strove to beat the deadline, and has probably contributed to the volatility in house prices in the last few months," said Martin Ellis, housing economist.

"We continue to expect little overall movement in prices as the UK economic situation remains challenging."

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