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House prices in the UK had their first quarterly fall for the first time in nine months, a closely-watched index has shown.

Prices fell 0.7 per cent in the three months between December and February, the Halifax house price index showed – the first time since May last year the figure has fallen into the red.

On an annual basis, prices rose 1.8 per cent in the year to February, while they edged 0.4 per cent higher between January and February. Average UK house prices hit £224,353 during the month.

However, Halifax suggested there was some hope for the market, after the number of homes sold in the UK reached 100,000 for the 13th month in a row, while mortgage approvals rose sharply in January.

But it added indicators of both demand and supply remain weak.

“[The] latest survey evidence largely points to still lacklustre housing market activity early on in 2018,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club.

“In particular, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ influential survey for January reported that “New buyer enquiries, instructions and sales all continue to drift lower (in net balance terms), while near term expectations point to a flat outturn for activity in the coming months.

“Having said that, there is a little more optimism regarding the 12 month sales outlook which is now at least modestly positive in virtually all parts of the country. New buyer enquiries were down for a 10th month running while agreed sales fell for an 11th month.”

Source: City A.M.

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