House prices continue to defy economic trends

House prices fell last month but only by 0.9%, according to the latest figures from Halifax.

The quarterly change recorded was an even smaller drop of 0.1%.

Over the last 12 months, average UK property has fallen in value by a mere 1.3% – a fairly remarkable performance considering the economic pressures currently being exerted.

Housing economist Martin Ellis said: “House prices in the final quarter of 2011 were 0.1% lower than in the previous quarter. This compared with a 0.1% rise between Quarter 2 (April to June) and Quarter 3 (July to September). On a monthly basis, prices fell by 0.9% between November and December.

“While there was a modest fall overall in prices during 2011 with an annual decline of 1.3% in December, house prices held up well last year in the face of the difficult and deteriorating economic climate and substantial pressure on households' finances.

“If the UK can avoid recession, we expect broad stability in house prices in 2012. There is, however, considerable uncertainty regarding the prospects for the UK economy which will, to a large extent, depend on how events in the euro zone unfold. In addition, the extent to which households choose to reduce their debts will also affect growth. As a result, the outlook for house prices is also uncertain.”