House prices edge down in January

UK house prices inched down 0.2 per cent in January following rises in November and December, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

On an annual basis, house values rose by 1.3 per cent, marking the first rise in 27 months, according to the lender.

"Market activity has also improved with sales in 2012 at their highest for five years. Rising mortgage approval numbers point to further increases in home sales in the coming months," said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.

“The Funding for Lending scheme has helped lenders to lower interest rates and improve availability in the past few months. This is likely to have been a factor contributing to the pick-up in both home sales and prices."

Ellis added that the outlook for house prices is "more unclear than usual", and that Halifax continues to expect "broad stability" in prices for 2013.