House price inflation dropped last month and the monthly price rise of 2% was less than half that of January 2002, suggesting the house price slowdown has begun, according to property website, Rightmove.co.uk.
The year-on-year house price inflation dropped 3% to 23.5% in February, at a time when the market normally starts to grow after the Christmas break.
This coincided with news the number of properties coming onto the market has continued to increase, and the number of enquiries to estate agents rose by 14%.
Mike Shipside, housing expert at Rightmove, said the slowdown was not caused by a lack of properties.
He said: ‘The picture varies across the country, but agents have a lot more instructions on their books, particularly in the South. It means there is plenty of choice for buyers ‘ in contrast with what we saw last year when prices were driven up sharply by acute supply shortages.’
The latest figures from the Land Registry for the last quarter of 2002 found the average house price increased by 22.24% from £118,827 in 2001 to £145,251 for the same period in 2002.
But predictions based on Rightmove’s statistics indicate official Land Registry figures for house prices will remain static for the first quarter of the year.
Ed Williams, managing director of Rightmove, said: ‘Due to asking price increases slowing over the last two months, Land Registry house prices are likely to level off over the next three months.’