House prices have fallen in February for the fifth month in a row, deepening the gloom over the property market. The Times, The Independent

The average price of a new property decreased by 0.2% to £174,400, according to Hometrack, the property research group. The annual rate of house price inflation fell to 1.4%, its lowest in nearly two years.

The number of purchasers paying the full asking price dipped to 93.3%, from 93.5% in January, suggesting that the market was turning in favour of buyers. The time taken to sell a property was unchanged at 8 weeks, which was the longest since Hometrack's survey began in 2001.

The 8% rise in February in the number of new buyers registering with agents was well down on the 25% increases recorded in the same month in the previous two years.