House prices have increased by 0.2% in July according to Halifax?s July House Price Index, following a similar rise in June. Chief Economist Martin Ellis comments: ?Overall there has been almost no change in the average UK house price since the start of 2005. There have been further signs of a modest improvement in housing market activity over the past month?.

On a more negative note, the annual rate of house price inflations continues to slow with Britain now experiencing the lowest rate of growth since April 1996. Halifax reports that loan approvals in 2005 Quarter 2 are still 18% lower than this time last year.

However, Ellis states that the number of loans approved for house purchase is 10% higher than it was in the first: ?Estate agents have reported recent modest upturns in both completed sales and enquiries by potential home buyers?, he explains. Yesterday?s cut in interest rates will reduce mortgage payments, bringing borrowing back in line with the average for the past 20 years.

The latest Royal International Company of Surveyors (RICS) confirms Halifax?s optimistic findings, reporting a rise in completed property sales since February 2005 and the first increase in buyer enquiries for five months in June.