With some of the individual indices proving increasingly erratic, leaping from positive to negative figures on a monthly basis, it is hard for consumers to gain a clear insight on the current state of play or obtain a reliable prognosis for the year ahead.
While the average rate of monthly decline, recorded by the Assetz House Price Watch, dropped to below 1% in the first two months of the year, a greater indictor of the softening of price falls is apparent in the annualised data.
Annualised figures taken from all the major indices offers a smoother picture, and indicates a trend of price falls beginning to reduce significantly, reports Assetz. Three and six month moving averages across the major indices have revealed an upturn in the annualised rate of growth since December 2008, and data from the first two months of 2009 represents an annualised fall of just 6.8% even after seasonal adjustments in many of the indices.
Assetz Chief Executive Stuart Law said: "Taking average data from all of the UK indices, as well as recording three and six month moving averages, offers a far smoother and more reliable representation of the market. Significantly, it avoids the erratic movements recorded by individual indices over the last two months.
"This is a useful indicator for house price direction, and the upward trend seen over the past two months strongly suggests that we are getting closer to the bottom of the market as price falls begin to reduce.
"The low falls recorded at the start of 2009, along with the reported increase in prospective buyers, the historically low interest rates and the early signs of increased lending, are all beginning to have an effect. Our best estimate of when prices will actually stop falling is currently September 2009."
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