House prices in the United Kingdom fell half a percentage point in February, the fourth straight monthly decline, a major mortgage lender reported Friday.
House prices had not fallen in four consecutive months since 2000, according to the report by the Nationwide building society.
Hometrack, a property information group, has reported that house prices in England and Wales fell for a fifth month in a row in February.
However, other surveys claimed that prices have risen this year. The Land Registry said on Thursday that house prices in England and Wales rose by 0.9 percent in January, and property Web site Rightmove reported that prices rose 3.2 percent in the four weeks ending Feb. 6.
"The trend in prices is clearly weakening, but the size of the drop in the annual rate between January and February perhaps overstates the rate of cooling, as it partly reflects the particularly strong increase in prices in February last year," said Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide's chief economist.
The Bank of England reported Friday that 74,000 new mortgages were approved for house purchases in January, up 2,000 from December.
In contrast, 121,000 mortgages were approved in January 2007, the bank said.