House prices in the UK have suffered their first quarterly fall in almost a year - but strong transaction totals suggest the market remains robust.
Prices fell 0.7 per cent in the three months between December and February, according to the Halifax. This is the first fall since May last year.
On an annual basis, prices rose 1.8 per cent in the year to February, although they were just 0.4 per cent higher between January and February.
The average UK house price is now £224,353.
However, the Halifax says this is the 13th month in a row that the number of homes sold in the UK reached 100,000 while mortgage approvals rose sharply in January.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank, says the market is being hampered by earnings rising at a slower rate than consumer prices.
“Despite the November rise in the Bank of England Base Rate, mortgage rates continue to stay low by historical standards. While we expect price growth to remain low, the low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should continue to support house prices over the coming months."