House prices edged 0.1 per cent lower during December as certain types of property fell out of favour with buyers, according to the latest Government figures.
The fall was driven by a one per cent drop in the average price of a bungalow and a 0.9 per cent decline in the cost of semi-detached homes, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said.
But at the same time people paid around 1.3 per cent more for terraced houses than they had in November.
Overall, the figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, showed the average home in the UK cost £185,788 in December - just £60 less than during the previous month.
The fall was also less than the 0.7 per cent drop in prices recorded during December 2004.
At the same time, annual house price growth continued to show signs of picking up, rising to 2.9 per cent for the year to the end of December, up from 2.2 per cent in November and 1.6 per cent in October.
Last week Britain's biggest mortgage lender Halifax released figures showing prices fell by 0.4 per cent during January, saying a mixed pattern of house price rises in some months followed by falls in others was typical of a slow market.
The pattern is similar to one reported by the ODPM figures, which had a 0.6 per cent fall in October followed by a rise in prices of the same amount during November.
But other surveys have indicated the housing market is recovering, with rises in both prices and buyer numbers.
Annual house price growth remained strongest in Northern Ireland during December, although it eased slightly to 12.9 per cent, and in Scotland at 10.9 per cent, according to the ODPM.
The northern regions of England also continued to outperform the southern ones, with growth running at 7.6 per cent in the North West and 6.5 per cent and 6.3 per cent in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber respectively.
But prices fell by 1.4 per cent in the East and 0.3 per cent in the South-east, while they edged ahead by just 0.8 per cent in the South West and ended the year where they had started in the East Midlands.
In the West Midlands, the price of houses rose by 1.8 per cent in the year to December, compared with 1.7 per cent in the year to November.
This put the average price of a property in this region at £165,238.
In London the annual rate of growth more than doubled to 3.8 per cent from 1.5 per cent to leave the average property in the capital costing £268,517.