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House prices rise 1.1%

House prices increased by 1.1% to £168,521 last month, according to the latest Halifax house price index.

It is the eighth monthly rise in the past nine months and in contrast to February's 1.6% fall. On an annual basis, prices increased 5.2% year-on-year.

Martin Ellis, housing economist for Halifax, says: "Prices in the first three months of 2010 were 0.6% higher than in the final quarter of 2009.  This was smaller than the 3.6% rise between the third and fourth quarters of 2009, suggesting a slowdown in the trend rate of house price growth.

"The return of the lowest stamp duty threshold to £125,000 affected housing demand at the end of 2009 and in early 2010.  The bad weather in the first two months of this year also had an impact on demand at the start of this year."

He adds: "There are signs that an increase in the number of properties available for sale is beginning to reduce the imbalance between supply and demand. This should help to contain the upward pressure on house prices."

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