Fall of 0.4% dampens hopes spurred by 0.9% rise last month, as prices fail to follow usual seasonal pattern

House prices dropped slightly in April, according to Nationwide.

The mortgage lender said that the price of the average property in the UK fell by 0.4% to £151,861.

The slip will squash hopes of recovery prompted by the 0.9% rise in prices reported by Nationwide last month.

The lender said that figures for April did not rise as much as it would have expected given normal seasonal patterns.

Nationwide's chief economist, Fionnuala Earley, said that the price a typical house, now £151,861, was 15% down on 12 months ago.

However, the three-month on three-month rate of change, generally a smoother indicator of the short-term trend in prices, improved to -3.1% in April from -4.1% in March.

Earley expressed scepticism that the government's guarantees for new, high-quality mortgage-backed securities introduced by the chancellor, Alistair Darling, would help the housing market.

“Since the availability of credit is only part of the reason why the housing market is in the doldrums, it is unlikely to lead to a swift turnaround in its fortunes," she said.”