Values increased at a slower pace over the course of last year, falling from an annual rise of 2.6% in December 2017, according to Nationwide’s data.
Prices dropped by 0.7% alone between November and December.
The average property in the UK is now worth £212,281, the lender’s research showed.
Current market conditions favour buyers over sellers, according to Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.
He said: “Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchases, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but forward-looking indicators had suggested some softening was likely.
“In particular, measures of consumer confidence weakened in December and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries towards the end of the year.
“While the number of properties coming onto the market also slowed, this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers.”
Big London falls
On a regional basis, London and the surrounding areas were the worst performers in 2018, with prices falling in the three months to December, compared to the same period in 2017.
At the same time, Northern Ireland had the strongest growth of 5.8%, followed by the East Midlands and Wales, which both saw increases of 4%.
Gardner said: “One of the more prominent regional trends in 2018 was the further narrowing of the north-south house price divide in England.
“This trend was not entirely unexpected, however, as it followed several years of sustained outperformance by the south, especially London and outer metropolitan areas, which left affordability more stretched in these areas.”
Data from the Bank of England, also released today, showed a slowdown in the number of loans approved and in the value of lending conducted in November.