By Marcus Leach

Halifax's latest figures have shown that house prices have been falling in spring, but are expected to stabilise later in the year.

Despite a 0.1% rise in the price of the average home in April, up to £160,519, prices were down 4.2% for the same period this time last year.

Halifax, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, believe that the market will be aided by a slight improvement in the economy and continued low interest rates.

The annual figures are based on average prices during the three months to the end of May, compared with the same three-month period of the previous year.

"House prices continue to drift modestly downwards," said Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.

"Low earnings growth, higher taxes and relatively high inflation are all putting pressure on household finances.

"Confidence is also weak as a result of uncertainty about the economic and employment outlook. These factors are probably constraining housing demand and applying some downward pressure on prices."

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