By Daniel Hunter

House prices fell for the first time in five months in February, according to figures from Nationwide.

The average house price fell 0.1% to £188,446, down from £187,964.

The annual growth of house prices also slowed for the sixth consecutive month. Prices compared with February 2014 were up 5.7%, the slowest annual growth since September 2013.

"Mortgage rates remain close to all-time lows and consumer confidence remains buoyant thanks to a further steady improvement in labour market conditions," said Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner.

Nationwide, the UK's second-largest mortgage lender, said the the surge of first-time buyers in 2013 and early 2014 bucked a long-term trend, which is helping to cool the market.

Between 2004 and 2014, the proportion of homeowners among 25-34 year olds dropped from 59% to 36%.