House prices fell this month at the fastest rate since July 2005 as the number of new buyers declined more swiftly even than the faltering supply of homes for sale. The Times

Hometrack, the property data company, said that prices fell by 0.2% in November, dropping for the second month in a row after a decline of 0.1% in October. The annual house price growth rate for the UK is only 3.6% - its lowest since July last year and down from 6.4% as recently as this June, when prices were said to be rising in almost 30% of British postcodes.

Prices are dropping in one in five postal districts, with the pain concentrated in areas such as Avon, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. The worst-performing region is the East Midlands — down by 0.3% in a month — with falls of up to 0.5% recorded in Central London.