The latest data from the Land Registry found house prices falling 2% in February, bringing the average house price to £153,862 and the annual rate of change to -16.5%.

In London the average price fell 15.6% to £298,563, and the North West region saw the greatest monthly fall of -4.1%.

This is the 18th consecutive month of house price falls for the Registry, which it points out, is now nearing the record 21 consecutive monthly increases between December 2005 and August 2007.

The report also reveals that in December 2008 house sales fell by 55% with December 2007, and by 59% in London year-on-year.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said: ‘The 2% drop in house prices in February according to the Land Registry brings the peak to trough decline in prices to almost 17%. This is broadly consistent with what is being suggested by most other house prices indices. Lower prices and the cheap cost of money has begun to fuel an increase in buyer interest as reflected in the RICS ‘new buyer enquiries’ series which has risen for four consecutive months.

‘This turnaround in the appetite of potential house purchasers is now becoming more visible in actual transaction data and confirms that the increased number of people registering with estate agents are doing more than just window shopping. Land Registry numbers show sales edged up in December from the November low and the more timely mortgage approvals figures indicate this more positive trend has further to run over the coming months although activity will still remain at relatively depressed levels.’

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