Nationwide says snow is partly to blame for February's 1% price fall

UK house prices fell for the first time in 10 months in February as the snow put off buyers, according to the latest figures from Nationwide building society.

Average property values dropped by 1% compared with January, with the average home worth £161,320.

The quarter-on-quarter comparison showed a 1.6% increase in the three months to February, having slowed from 2% in January and from the peak of 3.7% in September.

Martin Gahbauer, chief economist for the Nationwide, said: “There is evidence from a range of indicators that the market may have lost momentum in early 2010 as the stamp duty holiday ended and house hunters were obstructed by the icy weather.”

He added that even without the impact from these factors it would have been “surprising to see house prices maintain the very strong upward momentum seen for most of 2009”.

Broadly static household incomes and relatively high unemployment have also been cited as factors that have put the brakes on house prices.

Gahbauer said that it was a “positive development” for house prices not to race away from these economic fundamentals.