By Daniel Hunter

Nationwide building society have said that house prices have fallen for the fourth time in five months.

The fall of 0.7% in July means prices are now 2.6% lower than they were a year ago, at an average of £164,389.

The decline in house prices has been attributed to the current recession, with the property market expected to be heading for a new downturn.

“UK house prices declined for the fourth time in five months in July, with prices falling by 0.7%. This pushed the annual pace of price growth down to -2.6%, from -1.5% in June - the weakest outturn since August 2009," Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said.

"The weaker price trend observed in recent quarters is unsurprising, given the disappointing performance of the wider economy. Data released last week revealed that the UK recession intensified in the three months to July, with the economy contracting by 0.7% q/q.

"This disappointing outturn can be only partly explained by unusually wet weather and the impact of an extra bank holiday during the quarter. Indeed, the UK economy has contracted by 1.4% over the past nine months, and is now 4.5 percentage points smaller than it was in Q1 2008.”

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