House prices close to those those eight months ago

House prices in the three months to January were 0.9% lower than in the previous three months, the Halifax has reported.

This was the fourth consecutive month that this measure of the underlying trend has been slightly negative.

On a monthly basis, house prices increased by 0.6% in January. This was the second rise in the past six months and the first since October.

Prices in the three months to January were 1.8% lower than in the same period a year earlier. This measure of the annual rate has edged lower in the last two months from -1.0% in November, but is still comfortably above the recent low point of -4.2% in May 2011.

Overall, house prices have changed little in the past eight months. The UK average price in January, at £160,907, was very similar to that in May 2011 (£161,039).

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, said: “Notwithstanding monthly fluctuations