Halifax reports 0.3% fall but forecasts housing market will steady by end of year

The Halifax has reported a 0.3% fall in UK house prices for February, bringing the annual growth rate down to 4.2%.

However, it predicted that 2008 would see prices remain flat rather than fall over the year as a whole.

Prices in the three months to February showed a 0.2% rise on the previous quarter, according to Britain’s biggest mortgage lender.

This contrasts with recent February figures from Nationwide, which showed the fourth consecutive monthly drop in house prices, and a 1% quarter-on-quarter fall.

The UK property market has seen a significant decline in activity over the past year, said the Halifax, with falling sales and a 39% drop in mortgage approvals for homebuyers.

The average UK home now costs £196,649, according to Halifax figures.