House prices show first fall for five months but long-term growth 'robust'
House prices dipped for the first time in five months in January, according to an index.
Values fell by 0.9% month on month at the start of the year, marking the first monthly decline in prices seen since August, Halifax said.
But longer-term house price growth remains "robust" amid an ongoing shortage of homes for buyers to choose from, according to its report.
Across the UK, the average house price stands at £220,260 - 5.7% higher than a year earlier.
The annual rate of house price growth has eased to around half the rate of that seen last spring. In March 2016, house prices were climbing by 10% year on year.
On a quarterly basis, house prices between November and January were 2.4% higher than during the previous three months.
Martin Ellis, a housing economist, said: "The quarterly and annual rates of house price growth remain robust even though they are lower than in spring 2016.
"UK house prices continue to be supported by an ongoing shortage of property for sale, low levels of house-building, and exceptionally low interest rates.
"These factors are unlikely to change materially during 2017. Nonetheless, weaker economic growth and increasing pressure on spending power, along with affordability constraints, are expected to dampen housing demand, resulting in some downward pressure on annual house price growth during the year."
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "Worries about rising inflation and what this means for general living costs and interest rates, as well as stricter mortgage criteria and the focus on affordability, are having an impact on people's decision-making."
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said of the 0.9% price dip: "January's correction in house prices reported by the Halifax fuels our belief that house price gains over 2017 will be no more than 3%.
"We suspect that housing market activity and prices will come under increasing pressure as 2017 progresses from weakening fundamentals."
But Mr Archer said prices are likely to be held up by a shortage in supply.