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UK house prices decline 0.5% in Q3 – Halifax

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UK house prices fell by 0.5% in the three months to September, reported Halifax.

Its latest house price index showed that house prices fell by 0.4% in September, the third consecutive monthly fall. The average UK house price in September was 0.3% lower than in December 2011, at £159,486.

Halifax said home sales have been stable in recent months, at between 75,000 and 77,000 per month, between May and August. Overall, sales in the three months to August were 3% higher than in the same period last year.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax said: “The generally weak economic climate remains a significant constraint on housing demand. The relatively low level of mortgage payments in relation to income, however, continues to provide support for house prices.”

Halifax said it expects house prices to be broadly unchanged over the rest of this year and into 2013.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: “On the mortgage front, there is good news with several lenders repricing downwards in an attempt to grab market share before the end of the year. Santander SVR customers may be facing higher mortgage payments from this month, for example, but there are plenty of remortgage options, so even those who require 80 or even 85% Loan to Value may find a better option by remortgaging.

“The jury is still out on Funding for Lending and it would be good to see some data as to exactly who is borrowing what under the scheme, as transparency is something the market lacks.

“However, one lender recently voiced its concern to me about the perceived stigma attached to taking advantage of the funds available, fearing it gives the wrong message to customers that it is in some sort of crisis. This is a challenge for the Bank to resolve if the scheme is to have real success.”

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