House prices in the West Midlands continued to fall in February, but there is good news for the wider market.
According to the latest market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors almost two thirds of the region's chartered surveyors reported a further price fall in February, up to 63 per cent from 53 per cent in January.
But looking ahead chartered surveyors across the West Midlands expect prices to decline at a slower pace in the coming months as buyers return to the market.
Harvey Williams, of RICS, said: "Despite further house price falls, many chartered surveyors across the West Midlands are reporting a more positive outlook ahead for the region's housing market.
"Since the housing market survey figures have come out there has been an increase in the number or people viewing properties and the number of deals done is actually 15 per cent higher than last month and a good number of these are first time buyers."
Across the whole of the UK market, house price falls continued, although they eased to the lowest pace in five months, with 32 per cent of chartered surveyors reporting a fall in house prices, down four per cent from last month.
With the growing choice of available property for potential buyers, prices are likely to remain restrained, with surveyors anticipating modest price falls over the next few months. Concerns over another increase in interest rates were cited in the survey as holding demand in check, despite the generally strong economy and labour market.
A separate survey by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister showed the average house price in the UK in January stood at £ 178,796, changing little from £178,906 in December.
The value of detached houses fell by 0.5 per cent and semi-detached by 0.1 per cent, while terrace houses and flats were both up 0.3 per cent.
The average price paid by first-time buyers across the whole of the UK was £144,752 in January, while the average price paid by former owner occupiers was £197,244.
Sabina Kalyan, property economist at Capital Economics, said: "Admittedly, these numbers are not seasonally adjusted, making it difficult to interpret the underlying movement in prices from one month to the next.
"However, the start of the year is usually the most active period for the housing market, suggesting that, if anything, these numbers underplay the weakness of the market.
"The detail of the survey showed patches of weakness throughout the market. In January, prices for detached and semi-detached houses fell on a monthly basis, whereas prices for terraced houses and flats rose, suggesting that it is the top end of the market that is bearing the brunt of the slowdown.
"We also saw house prices rise by 0.1 per cent month on month for former owner-occupiers, but fall by 0.5 per cent month on month for first-time buyers, suggesting some weakness at the bottom of the property ladder as well."