By Daniel Hunter
Halifax released data on Friday showing that house prices in the UK fell sharply in April after the end of the stamp-duty holiday for first-time buyers.
Sales had risen marginally before the end of the tax concession on March 24th, pushing prices up, before finally falling back by 2.4%.
Halifax said this had caused monthly price changes to "fluctuate widely".
"Prices in the three months to April were 0.3% higher than in the previous quarter, marking the first rise in this measure for seven months," Martin Ellis, housing economist, said.
"Despite the slight improvement in the underlying trend in recent months, house prices continue to lack real direction with the current UK average price little different to where it was at the end of 2011. The monthly figures continue to fluctuate quite widely with a 2.4% decline in April, wiping out March's 2.2% rise.
"The ending of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March appears to have boosted home sales early this year as buyers strove to beat the deadline, and has probably contributed to the volatility in house prices in the last few months.
"We continue to expect little overall movement in prices as the UK economic situation remains challenging."
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