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Halifax: House prices fall 0.4% in October

House prices fell by 0.4 per cent between September and October in the fifth monthly decline that has taken place this year.The latest Halifax House Price Index reveals quarterly growth of just 0.8 per cent, making it the slowest quarterly rise since December 2012, when house prices grew by 0.7 per cent. This took the average price of a house in the UK to £186,135.In the three months to October, prices were 8.8 per cent higher than in the same three months a  year earlier. According to this measure, growth has been slowing since the middle of summer after a peak of 10.2 per cent was reached in July.The data also reveals a fall in house sales for the seventh successive month. In September, they declined to 97,450 -  the lowest level since October 2013 (95,640).Meanwhile, mortgage approvals reached a 14-month low, with the volume of approvals for house purchases falling for the third consecutive month to 61,300. This represents a 20 per cent decline from the 76,500 figure reached in February 2014.A better balance of supply and demand is now beginning to emerge, with the latest information from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors indicative of an easing of market conditions.Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said housing demand in the coming months could be supported by continuing economic growth and rising levels of employment."However, while the chances of an imminent interest rate hike may have receded, a recent Halifax survey found that many borrowers are concerned about the impact a rise could have on their monthly mortgage repayments over the next 12 months," he continued. "This concern is likely to curb buying intentions." The latest Halifax data corroborates evidence of a cooling market in the latest Nationwide House Price Index, which revealed a slowing of annual price growth. 

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