The Halifax House Price Index for January has caused a stir, as it reported prices up 1.9% on December. However it warned that one month's figures did not indicate an end to the downward trend, which has reached 17.2% in the past year.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax, said “It is always important not to place too much weight on any one month's figures. Historically, house prices have not moved in the same direction month after month even during a pronounced downturn”.
“There are some very early signs that market activity may be stabilising, albeit at quite a low level. Nonetheless, continuing pressures on incomes, rising unemployment and the negative impact of the dislocation of the financial markets on the availability of mortgage finance are expected to mean that 2009 will be a difficult year for the housing market."