House prices in the UK fell by 0.4% in April 2009, reversing some of the rise seen in March, according to the Nationwide.

The building society’s figures show that the pace of decline in house prices slowed, but the typical home still cost 15% less than a year ago.

The price of the average property in the UK was £151,861 in April 2009.

Figures from the Land Registry relating to March, also published on Thursday, showed different price shifts in different parts of England and Wales.

The figures suggested typical property prices rose by 1.8% in the North East of England in March compared with February, but fell by 2% in the same period in the West Midlands.

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According to Halifax, UK house prices have fallen 1.9% in March compared with the previous months. In the opinion of a lender, now part of Lloyds Banking Group, the current conditions in the housing market would be tough in the remaining months of year 2009. The average UK home now costs £157,226, at least £30,000 less than the previous year. Although there has been a slight rise in house prices in March as reported by the Nationwide, Halifax says the homebuyer confidence was still low.

The annual rate ( which is based on a three-month by three-month comparison) of decline was up slightly with house prices being down by 17.5% in March, compared with a record drop of 17.7% in February. When comparing the average house price from March 2009, compared with March 2008, the drop was 17.6%.  House prices ‘drop 1.9%

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The sharp fall wiped out any optimism created by the surprise 2pc rise reported for January following a sustained period of falls.

Average house prices in February slid to £160,327, down from £194,953 in the same month a year ago. This takes average prices back to levels last seen in August 2004 and 20pc lower than the peak in late 2007.

One of the biggest problems for the housing market has been the inability among potential buyers to secure mortgages, with banks remaining risk averse and unwilling to lend. The number of first time buyers is now at the lowest level in 35 years.

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The price of UK homes rose by 1.9% in January, compared to December, according to the Halifax.

However it warned that one month’s figures did not indicate an end to the downward trend in prices, which it says have dropped 17.2% in the past year.

The average house price has now reached £163,966, according to the Halifax.

Last week, a survey by Nationwide suggested house prices fell by 1.3% in January, and they said job worries were putting off people buying homes.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax, said his bank’s latest survey did not mean the property market had reached a turning point, after last year’s dramatic slump in mortgage lending, completed sales and prices.

“It’s far too early to make any conclusion,” he said.

“The figures are going against the trend and our survey shows that if you compare the last three months to the previous three [months] then prices are still down significantly, by about 5%,” he added.

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