House prices fall 18% in year to February, says Nationwide

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House prices fell by a bigger-than-expected 1.8 per cent in February for a record annual decline of 17.6 per cent, figures from the mortgage lender Nationwide showed yesterday.

The 15th consecutive monthly fall took the price of an average house down to £147,746, the lowest level since April 2004 and 20.6 per cent down from the peak of more than £186,000 reached in October 2007. The figures imply the Bank of England's successive cuts in interest rates down to 1 per cent this month from 5 per cent in October have failed to restore demand.

Analysts said the Nationwide survey suggested house prices had even further to fall as lending conditions have remained tight.