House prices fell 0.6% in March, the lowest decline in 10 months, says the latest report from Hometrack. The report says this reflects an increase in optimism from agents on the back of increased levels of market activity and sales over the past two months.

Year-on-year, house prices are now down 10.3% overall, although the average time for a property on the market fell in March to 11.3 weeks from 12 weeks in February and proportion of asking price achieved rose for the first time in two years to 88.8%, which suggests realistic pricing is becoming more prevalent.

‘After a year of declining demand and market activity, this modest pick we see as being largely seasonal but supported by pent-up demand feeding back into the market,’ said Richard Donnell Hometrack’s director of research. ‘Yet with the expectation of continued increase in unemployment and weak economic growth together with restricted availability of mortgages, it seems doubtful whether the increase in activity and sales will continue to gather momentum in the coming months.

‘Demand is set to remain subdued and while the rate of price falls is likely to moderate slowly, prices look set to remain under downward pressure over the rest of 2009.’

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