By Daniel Hunter

The average price for a house in the UK has dropped to £163,327 following a 1% dip in prices between February and March, according to the Nationwide.

The building society said that prices were pushed lower than a year ago for the first time in six months.

"The price of a typical UK home fell by 1% in March, pushing the year on year rate of house price growth into negative territory for the first time in six months. House prices were 0.9% lower than March 2011," Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said.

"A slowdown was to be expected, given the imminent expiry of the stamp duty holiday, which had provided a temporary boost to house prices in early 2012 as buyers brought forward purchases that would otherwise have taken place later in the year1.

"This dampening effect on housing market activity and prices may fade over the course of the summer, especially if the wider economic outlook begins to improve and other policy measures, such as the Government’s NewBuy scheme are successful in supporting buyer demand.

"However, in our view the challenging economic backdrop is likely to continue to act as a drag, with house prices moving sideways or modestly lower over the next twelve months."

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