House prices in the UK are dropping once again, with the average price of a residential property falling by 1.6% every year, according to Halifax.

The lacklustre figure, which is based on the three months to the end of December, is the lowest number since November 2009. Halifax said house prices fell by 1.3% in December alone.

A direct comparison between December 2009 and December 2010 shows that the property market deflated by 3.4% through the course of last year, with the average cost of a home now standing at £162,435.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said: “Looking forward, we expect limited movement in house prices during 2011 but with the risks on the downside.

“Current signs that homeowners are becoming more reluctant to sell would, if continued, help reverse the imbalance between buyers and sellers.

“Nonetheless, uncertainty about the economy, weak earnings growth and higher taxes could put some downward pressure on demand.”

He added that, while prices across the whole of the UK were likely to remain broadly unchanged, there would be some ‘modest’ regional variations, particularly in areas which were likely to be impacted by government spending cuts.

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