UK house prices declined for the first time in six months in March, data published by the mortgage lender Halifax showed Friday.

House prices dropped 1.0 percent on a monthly basis in March, in contrast to the 0.3 percent rise in February. This was the first decrease since September. Prices were expected to climb 0.3 percent. On a yearly basis, house price growth eased to 0.3 percent from 1.6 percent in the prior month. Prices were expected to climb 1.5 percent.

A typical house now costs GBP 288,430, which was around GBP 2,900 less than last month.

Despite the fall, house prices have shown surprising resilience in the face of significantly higher borrowing costs, Halifax Mortgages Director Kim Kinnaird said.

Affordability continues to be a challenge for prospective buyers, while existing homeowners on cheaper fixed-term deals are yet to feel the effect of higher interest rates. Accordingly, the housing market has not adjusted fully.

Kinnaird said the underlying demand is positive and as rental costs are rising at record rates, home ownership continues to be an attractive option.

However, Kinnaird added that the housing market remains sensitive to the scale and pace of interest rate changes, and with only a modest improvement in affordability on the horizon, this will likely limit the scope for significant house price increases this year.

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