British house prices in October registered their biggest one-month drop since February 2009, according to an official index, which noted widespread price declines, falling in eight of 10 regions.

The UK Land Registry House Price Index, which tends to lag trends flagged up by indices created by lenders, fell by 0.8 per cent in October, the second consecutive monthly decline after a 0.2 per cent drop in September. Year-on-year, prices are 3.4 per cent above 2009 levels.

Official Land Registry data track the declines in house prices that have been showing up for months in lenders’ indices and other private sector surveys. Uncertainty about employment prospects ahead of public sector job cuts and limited access to mortgage finance, particularly for first-time buyers, are weighing on demand for new homes, economists have said.

The East of England and London were the only two regions to show firmer prices, rising by 1.0 and 0.3 per cent respectively. Yorkshire and Humberside showed the biggest one-month decline, with average prices falling by 1.8 per cent.

Among London boroughs, price movements varied widely, showing a four percentage point swing between the best and worst performing areas. While prices rose by 2.0 per cent in Camden, they fell by 1.8 per cent in Barking and Dagenham.

Sales volumes, after hitting a high in July at 65,825, fell back in August to 58,783, the latest available figures. The drop in volumes is most acute among lower-priced properties, which are favoured by first-time buyers. The drop was sharpest among properties in the £100,001-£150,000 range where sales dropped 12 per cent from 2009 levels.

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