The average asking price of a property fell by 1% in June, says the property website Rightmove, the biggest monthly fall since November 2004. However the site also said it thinks this marks the beginning of the closure in the affordability gap, a large obstacle to first-time buyers, whose behaviour has a knock on effect on the whole of the market.

Rightmove also observed a reduction in properties on estate agents? books, citing this as evidence that demand is strong, and saying that a modest recovery in transaction volumes in the second half of the year would complete the jigsaw in terms of the ?soft landing scenario?.

This, the website suspects, leaves a window of opportunity for buyers this summer where there are still going to be high levels of competing sellers who may be more flexible than previously on price.

However Rightmove predicts a ?firming up? of prices come Autumn, before the traditional winter lull.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove?s Commerical Director, said: ?Sellers are now realising they have to compromise some degree of their gains in order to sell their properties. Traditionally we have witnessed that doing too little too late to increase the affordability and volume of buyers has led to the bursting of the property bubble.

?The willingness of sellers to ask lower prices for their properties is a significant step to returning to a normal market, avoiding the desperate consequences of the last crash in the 1990s.?