British house prices fell for the first time in five months
Nationwide's data showed that house prices dropped by 0.1pc in February, however, well below the 0.3pc rise seen in January. Economists had forecast another 0.3pc rise in February.
Looking at the three months to February house prices rose by just 0.8pc, the weakest increase since the three months to May 2013. Annual house price growth of 5.7pc was the lowest since September 2013.
Nationwide said the underlying picture of improving wages and cheap mortgage rates was likely to cause house prices to rise faster than in recent months, a view shared by Howard Archer, an economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight.
"We suspect that the weakening of housing market activity is now bottoming out and we see it picking up to a limited extent in 2015 from current levels," Archer said. ■