Topsy turvy house prices continue

house which way arrows

House prices fell by 0.9% in November, compared to a 1.2% rise in October, according to latest figures from the Halifax house price index.

Meanwhile, prices went down by 0.6% during the last quarter, and the annual fall now stands at 1%. The average house price is now £161,731, compared to £164,269 in November 2010.

Despite the downward movements, Martin Ellis, housing economist for Halifax, says prices overall have remained "remarkably stable" in 2011. "The UK average price now is only marginally lower than at the end of 2010," he adds.

Impossible to predict

Ellis says he expects the market will stay "broadly unchanged" in the next few months with supply and demand unlikely to alter much.

"At the moment, it's almost impossible to predict which way house prices are going to trend from month to month. For consumers, it's almost pointless using any of the house price indices as a measure of market conditions because they're so topsy turvy," says Liya Fateh, director of the estate agent review site

"If you want a true measure of market conditions, walk into any estate agent's office and they will tell you the same thing – there is a large amount of stock that is taking a long time to shift, and the only properties that are flying out the door are those where the sellers are willing to drop their prices to tempt buyers," Fateh adds.

Confusing measures

Halifax's housing data comes after the Land Registry revealed annual changes of 3.2%. Nationwide, meanwhile, reported that house prices had increased by 0.4% in November and 1.6% annually.

"Behind the apparently contradictory data lies a housing market which is still essentially stagnant, with paltry levels of transactions," says Tracy Kellett, director of the home buying agency BDI Homefinders.