The LSL/Acadametrics House Price Index shows that in August the average price paid for a house in Wales was £150,016.
This represents a decrease of £373 (-0.2%) compared to July, and of £1,534 (-1.0%) since the start of 2013.
Nine of the last 12 months have seen a fall in prices, although the rate of decrease has lessened over the last two months.
On an annual basis prices have fallen by 0.9%, with Wales remaining at the bottom of the league in terms of GB regional house price growth: only Scotland at -0.3% is also in negative territory.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, said: “While the housing market across the UK makes a strong recovery, Wales continues to face an uphill struggle. House prices dropped in August and have fallen in nine out of the last twelve months. They fell by £373 in August and are £1,344 lower than twelve months ago.
“However, there is cause for optimism as sales activity is growing and first-time buyer activity has bounced back, bringing a whole new burst of energy. House sales in Wales have continued to rise, and for the second month running have reached a three and a half year high. It’s hugely positive to see that this increase has been largely universal across all sectors of the market. First-time buyers have unlocked property chains, allowing sales to ripple higher up the ladder.
“First-time buyers are now making up a larger part of the property market in Wales, which has caused the fall in average house prices. More first-time buyers mean more properties have been purchased at the lower end of the market, thereby reducing the average value. In the long term, the rise in first-time buyer activity will make the market healthier, as sales from second-time buyers and home movers will boost levels and help drive prices upwards again.
“At a regional level, Cardiff had the biggest rise in sales in August due to the boost in the sale of detached and semi-detached properties, which is barely the preserve of first time buyers. Demand is rising across the board and it is good to see that there has been an increase in sales across all buyer types. The Government’s Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes have stimulated the market significantly. An array of attractive mortgage products have entered the market left, right and centre thanks to increased mortgage supply, and the rise in competition between lenders. The more progress made in the first-time buyer market, the more likely it is that we will see green shoots of recovery and more buyers tempted back into the market.
“The Welsh market needs to focus on house building to give it the shot of adrenaline required to fuel growth and return to a full recovery.”