Good news for anyone considering purchasing a home this year. According to the latest reports, the average house price in the UK has now fallen for three months running.
This is the first time that this has happened since 2009, when the financial crisis was in full swing.
So what does this mean for house hunters?
Annual growth rate is slowing
According to Nationwide's house price index, the average cost of a home in the UK fell last month by 0.2% so that the average price is now £208,711, as reported in the media recently.
This follows on from April, where the decline was 0.4%, and March, where average prices fell 0.3%.
The annual growth rate is slowing as a result. It is now at 2.1%, which is the lowest in four years. In April, the annual growth rate was 2.6%.
The chief economist at Nationwide, Robert Gardner, said that it suggests the market is "losing momentum", and it could even suggest a "wider slowdown" in the sector.
Why the downward trend?
While the slowdown is clearly happening, it is not thought to be related to uncertainty surrounding the general election. And unemployment recently hit a 42-year low, so that's not to blame either.
Instead, the main culprit is inflation, which is putting pressure on real incomes as it overtakes wage growth.
Are you planning to buy?
Despite the drop in prices, Nationwide still expects house prices to go up by 2% this year.
The main reason for this is that there is a serious shortage of housing. When there is more demand than supply, this inevitably leads to higher house prices. But overall, it is still good news for anyone planning to buy a property.
Perhaps you have been saving up for a deposit while renting a property, or perhaps you are a landlord planning to expand your portfolio. If such, the slowdown in the housing market could provide you with a good opportunity.
The one thing you need to keep in mind, however, is that the prices vary considerably by region. While the slowdown represents the average across the country, in some regions, house prices are falling faster, while in others, they are increasing. So it all depends on where you live.
Do your research in your area
The advice for anyone planning to buy a home, whether to live in or to let, is the same: look at the prices in your area. Follow the trends, and keep an eye on what is happening where you are.
While the average house prices are falling, it might not be the case where you live. So make sure you follow the market in your area, and this could help you decide when is the right time to buy.