Halifax has found that house prices recovered from two months of decline and climbed 1.1 per cent in December.
But poor performance in November and October meant over the three months running to the end of the year prices were up just 0.1 per cent, their smallest quarterly rise in more than four years.
Northern England was chiefly responsible for December's house price increase, with the Midlands and the South registering small declines in house prices.
"Sound housing market fundamentals will continue to underpin the market in 2005, ensuring that the market remains healthy and that house prices fall only slightly," said Halifax's chief economist Martin Ellis.
"We expect a two per cent decline in prices nationally this year with the market subsequently characterised by modest price increases and a steady improvement in transactions beyond 2005," he added."To read more about UK property, click here.
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