House prices declined 0.5% in June, according to the latest Halifax house price report, bringing the average price of a property to £157,713 and the annual rate of decline at -15%. Although this is a fall the report stresses that in fact house price decline is easing – the fall in this last quarter was the smallest since the beginning of 2008.

There are also some indications of a modest improvement in sales activity, Halifax says, albeit at a low level. Mortgage approvals increased for the fourth successive month and improvements in affordability and low interest rates have stimulated housing demand.

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Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: ‘Whilst there have been encouraging recent signs of improvement, the outlook for the UK economy remains uncertain with unemployment set to continue rising for some time. Overall, we expect to see a continuing mixed pattern of monthly house price rises and falls over the remainder of 2009.’

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