House prices have again fallen according to the latest monthly survey from Hometrack, the property market research specialists. While this is the ninth consecutive monthly decline, it is the smallest decrease recorded for over six months, and follows a three month trend of reducing price falls.

Hometrack said that the signs now point to an end to house price deflation, and predict that prices will grow from now on until the end of the year.

Activity picked up during March, with sales agreed rising by 16.5% following February?s 35.9%. The number of buyers registering with estate agents increased by 6.2%, only the second rise since May last year, according to Hometrack?s figures.

As buyers begin to return to the market, properties are now taking slightly less time to sell, with the average wait down from 7.6 weeks last month to 7.4 weeks in March. Discounts achieved by buyers on asking prices have also fallen by 0.1% to an average of 6.3%, Hometrack said.

While falls were suffered by several regions, especially in the North, 22 counties saw price rises, with London’s 0.8% increase leading the recovery.

As a result of the new figures, Hometrack has revised its 2005 house price inflation forecast from 0% to 3%.

John Wriglesworth, Hometrack?s Housing Economist, said: ?House price deflation over the past nine months looks set to end, with house prices remaining broadly flat this month. An increase in the number of buyers, helping boost the number of sales agreed, points to a much stronger market in the coming months.?