House prices rose for the first time in nearly a year in January, but were still down sharply on an annual basis, according to data from Britain’s largest lender.

House prices rose by 1.9% last month – the first increase since February 2008, when they rose by 0.1%, and the largest rise since January 2007, the Halifax house price index shows.

The rise in prices followed a fall of 1.6% in December, and confounded economists’ expectations of a further 1.6%drop.

However, prices can fluctuate on a monthly basis. In the past three months, for example, they fell by 17.2% on the same period a year ago, which compares with the 16.2% drop registered for the three months to December.

Financial Times, The Times