House prices continued to “fluctuate widely” in April as a sign of continued uncertainty in the UK economy, the Lloyds Banking Group’s Halifax House Price Index said today.

Residential

The average UK house price fell by 2.4% in April, compared with a 2.2% rise the month before.

One reason for the 4.6% difference between the two months was the end of the stamp duty holiday in March – and Lloyds said this had made it difficult to determine the underlying trend.

Lloyds’ housing economist Martin Ellis said: “Despite the slight improvement in the underlying trend in recent months, house prices continue to lack real direction with the current UK average price little different to where it was at the end of 2011. 

“The monthly figures continue to fluctuate quite widely with a 2.4% decline in April, wiping out March’s 2.2% rise.

“The ending of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in late March appears to have boosted home sales early this year as buyers strove to beat the deadline, and has probably contributed to the volatility in house prices in the last few months.”

However, Lloyds said confidence amongst borrowers was on the rise.  Nearly 40% of respondents to the bank’s housing market confidence survey said they expect house prices to increase over the year compared with 20% who predicted a decline.