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Halifax: House Prices Continue To Fall

(c) Sky News 2012

House prices in Britain have fallen for the third month in a row as the market remains subdued, according to Halifax.

Prices dropped 0.4% in September, following a 0.3% fall the previous month, the bank said.

The average house price is now £159,486 - that is 1.2% lower than last year.             

"The generally weak economic climate remains a significant constraint on housing demand," Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist, said.

"The relatively low level of mortgage payments in relation to income, however, continues to provide support for house prices."

The bank said it expects the market to remain stable, highlighting figures from HM Revenue and Customs showing home sales have stayed between 75,000 and 77,000 a month in May through to August.

"We expect house prices to be broadly unchanged over the rest of this year and into 2013," Mr Ellis added.

Halifax's figures come two days after a survey by Nationwide also found that house prices fell by 0.4% in September.

The building society looked at regional differences, and found that prices in Northern Ireland fell 9.3% on an annual basis.

In England, London was the best performing area - with prices up 2.1% - while Yorkshire & Humberside and the North East were the weakest, with prices down 2% over the year.

An ongoing problem with the UK's property market since the start of the economic downturn has been the availability of mortgages.

In an attempt to kick-start lending to households and businesses, the Bank of England and Treasury introduced an £80bn Funding for Lending scheme in August.

Although it is too soon to see a definite impact of the programme, lenders said it had caused mortgage availability to increase.

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