House prices fell by more than expected last month, returning the average price of a house to where it was in 2004, according to data from Halifax published yesterday.

But the 1.7% fall in April was the smallest monthly decline since December, and less than the 1.9% drop recorded in March. The pace of decline has also slowed in recent months, helped by a rare rise in January.

'Through the noise, the data have been showing signs that the pace of decline in house prices has been moderating,' said Allan Monks, economist at JPMorgan.

However, April’s decline in prices was still in line with the average 1.6% monthly drop recorded by the Halifax over the past 12 months. The average house price now costs about £155,000 and is 22.5% below the August 2007 peak of £200,000.

Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent