British house prices edged down by 0.1% in May from April, representing a stabilisation of the market after a slowdown last year which was followed by a recovery on hopes of falling borrowing costs, data from mortgage lender Halifax showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters had mostly expected an increase of 0.2% on the month.

In the 12 months to May, prices rose by 1.5%, Halifax said on Friday, faster than the median forecast in the Reuters poll for an annual increase of 1.2%.

"Market activity remained resilient throughout the spring months, supported by strong nominal wage growth and some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook," Halifax's head of mortgages, Amanda Bryden, said.

The stable picture for property prices over the last three months was likely to give more confidence to buyers and sellers, Bryden said.

Last week, rival lender Nationwide said its measure of house prices rose in May after falling in the previous two months.

Britain's housing market has picked up speed after mortgage rates fell from 15-year highs last year on expectations that the Bank of England will start to cut its benchmark interest rates.

Investors are currently putting a roughly 70% chance on the BoE lowering Bank Rate at its September meeting. (Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by William James)