Average house price dipped in March
The average price of a house in England and Wales fell by 0.6 per cent to £160,372 in March according to new Land Registry figures.
However, there were wide regional variations with prices falling by 1.8 per cent in London and 4.1 per cent in Wales, but increasing by 5.6 per cent in the North East.
This contrasts with figures for the full year to March, which show prices in London rising by 0.7 per cent but falling by 2.8 per cent in the North East.
The Land Registry figures also contradict recent data from the Halifax, which suggests that house price increased by 2.2 per cent in March.
However figures from Nationwide showed a 1 per cent fall.
Analysts suggest that the continued low level of property sales is distorting price indexes and causing fluctuations.
According to the Land Registry, sales volumes in the six months to January showed only a slight increase from the same period the year before.
Russell Quirk of online estate agency eMoov.co.uk said: “There’s neither rhyme nor reason to house prices right now.
“With transaction levels so low, prices can swing dramatically from one month to the next. And that’s what’s happening month after month.”
Last month’s news that the UK had entered a double-dip recession caused economists to predict a sharp fall in house prices.
Although house prices have been falling, when the effect of inflation is excluded their headline values have remained stable in recent months.
However the return to recession is expected to cause further damage to consumer confidence and lead to a more significant fall in house prices than has been experienced recently.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global insight, said: “It is not good news for the housing market, given it’s already struggling.
“In the current environment it’s quite a large step for people to commit to buying a house.”