House prices fell for the 10th consecutive month in August to register one of the biggest year-on-year drops in 18 years, a survey showed yesterday.

Nationwide said the price of a typical house fell 1.9% in the month, taking the annual fall to 10.5%. It is the first time an annual decline in prices has entered double digits since the lender began collecting monthly data in 1991.

Further despondency came from a survey by the CBI employers’ body showing most retailers thought sales were lower than a year ago in August, while more were cutting jobs in preparation for tougher times.

'This has been a summer that many retailers would rather forget,' said Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI’s distributive trades panel and ASDA’s retail director. A net balance of 46% of retailers said business had deteriorated – the weakest Reading in the survey’s 25-year history. In some sectors the gloom was universal: all retailers of household goods and furniture said sales were down.

A net 31% of retailers said their headcount was lower than a year ago - a worrying development for regional cities, where retail has been a big driver of employment growth in recent years.

Financial Times, The Times