House prices fall

Average house prices in the UK dropped by 1% in the second quarter of the year with prices down 1.1% compared to a year ago, according to Nationwide's latest house price index.

The average price now stands at £164,955.

Nine out of 13 UK regions saw an annual price fall in the last quarter. Northern Ireland suffered the biggest drop, with average prices down 10.6% year-on-year.

The index shows that Scotland was the worst-performing area on a quarterly basis, with prices falling 2% during the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Wales continues to struggle as the country saw a third successive quarter of price falls, with a drop of 1.1% in the second quarter.

The north/south divide among the English regions also continued, with house price growth in southern England exceeding that of northern England for the 30th consecutive quarter.

The North West was the worst performing English region, with prices down 4.1% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, property prices in London were up 1% quarter-on-quarter as demand continue to outstrip supply - the average prices in the capital have now more or less returned to their 2007 peak.

Russell Quirk, founder of low-cost online estate agents,, comments:

"With the economy back in recession, confidence low and the eurozone on the brink, it's no surprise that house prices remain under pressure. On an annual basis, we're back to the bad old days of 2009.

"The end of the stamp duty holiday may have contributed to the weakness in prices but it is by no means the biggest driver. That's the lack of confidence to commit to a purchase."

Quirk believes the property market will remain "erratic" but warns that homeowners shouldn't "hold their breath on prices" as we could be in it for the long haul.

"One reason why prices aren't falling further is simply supply and demand. There aren't enough properties for people to live in and to a certain extent that puts a glass floor under prices," he says.

Independent property search agent Gabby Adler, adds: “The worse-than-expected figures reveal that the housing market is still firmly in the doldrums.

"But it is important to remember that this is a national average and regional differences are significant. What is true of the property market in the north of the country, for example, is very different in London or other property hotspots.

"What is consistent across the country is that the volume of transactions is well below what we were seeing at the height of the market as many would-be vendors sit on their hands and wait and see what happens with the wider economic situation."