House prices last month fell for the first time since June as the market approaches the stamp duty cliff edge.
The average price of a property dropped by 0.3 per cent since December to £229, 748. This brought the annual growth rate down to 6.4 per cent from 7.3 per cent, according to Nationwide.
The downturn will pile pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty holiday, which ends on March 31st. It comes after MPs warned on Monday that property sales worth billions were at risk of collapse as the deals may not be completed in time.
But experts said the dip was merely 'a dab on the brakes' following a period of frenzied activity. Robert Gardner of Nationwide said families were still looking for more living space and this demand will support the market. But he added that if the stamp duty holiday ends as scheduled, the market could fall 'sharply' in the coming months.
Around 100,000 buyers are set to miss the stamp duty holiday deadline, warned Rightmove. And a quarter of them will not continue with their purchase, claimed mortgage lender Paragon.