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House prices up 0.5% in May

House prices increased by 0.5% in May, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

House prices in the three months to May were also 0.8% higher than in the preceding three months.

This was the second successive increase in this measure following six consecutive falls between October 2011 and March 2012 and the biggest three monthly increase since August 2011.

Prices in the three months to May were 0.1% lower than in the same period a year earlier. This continued the improving trend in the annual rate and was the smallest yearly decline in house prices for 17 months.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, says: “Whilst there has been a modest improvement in the trend for house prices recently, the current average UK price is very similar to the levels both a year ago and at the beginning of this year. We expect this situation to continue with prices likely to still be around today’s levels at the end of 2012 as the ongoing tough economic environment constrains housing demand.

“Recent monthly house sales figures have clearly been affected by the ending of the Stamp Duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March. Overall, the trend for sales – like that for prices – appears to be one of broad stability.”

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