UK house prices down for 5th month in a row

Despite the continued weakness in underlying prices, there were signs that demand was improving.

British house prices fell for the fifth month in a row in February, but there were signs that demand is beginning to increase on the back of lower interest rates, property firm Hometrack Ltd. said Monday. The average cost of a home in England and Wales fell 0.2 percent during the month to £174,400, according to Hometrack. At the same time the annual rate of house price inflation continued its downward trend to stand at just 1.4%, its lowest level since April 2006. But the group said despite the continued weakness in underlying prices, there were signs that demand was improving, with the number of new buyers registering with estate agents increasing by 7.9% during the month, compared with an 11.5% fall in January. The group said there was also a slight rise in the number of sales agreed, which contributed to February's price fall being lower than the 0.3% slide seen during each of the previous two months. The figures come after property Web site Rightmove reported a 3.2% jump in house prices in England and Wales in the four weeks to February 9.