In the latest house price index from Rightmove released today, the average asking price for properties in April is £239,521, down from £239,655 in March.

The annual rate of increase has dropped from 5% to 1.3%, the lowest level since July 2005.

This could be good news for buyers, however. Those who have saved through the winter and are now emerging into the spring market could find there are deals to be had, says Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove.

‘It is a buyers’ market, but only if that buyer is buying for cash or can put down a good deposit. Our advice is to line up your mortgage in advance, because it is harder and more costly to borrow a high percentage. Once that’s arranged, be prepared to negotiate hard.’

Smart sellers should look for buyers with short chains, as there is more chance of longer chains falling apart with mortgages becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

Prices have risen slightly over the last month in the north (0.8%), Yorkshire and Humberside (0.1%), East Midlands (0.6%) and Wales (0.1%), while there has been a more perceptible change in East Anglia (5.5%) and the south west (2.3%).

Decreases have been witnessed in the north west (-1.4%), Greater London (-0.9%) and the south east (-0.1%).

The report points out a new phenomenon due to a lack of confidence among banks that could produce a ‘correction overshoot.’

‘The reasonable correction in the housing market is in danger of being taken to unreasonable extremes if the freezing of mortgage liquidity continues,’ adds Mr Shipside. ‘Buyers and sellers need to see more positive news on interest rates and mortgage liquidity, so we urge lenders, the Bank of England and government to be more energetic in making it happen.’

* Property for sale in London