House prices 'likely to fall again'
Fears over the property market have intensified after figures showed the average price of a UK property slumped more than £6,000 last month.
Experts warned there were likely to be more declines to come after September's 3.6% price fall, which was the biggest drop since Halifax first began compiling figures in 1983.
Halifax said prices were forced down by an increase in the number of properties on the market, combined with a drop in demand fuelled by uncertainty over the economy.
The fall wiped more than £6,000 off the average price of a UK house, at £162,096 last month.
The lender played down the significance of the drop, stressing it was too early to conclude that it represents the beginning of a sustained period of declining house prices.
But the figures sent shockwaves through the industry. Shares in housebuilders, such as Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey, and lenders including Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, were all down after the figures were released.
Paul Diggle, property expert at Capital Economics, said: "The hefty drop in the Halifax measure of house prices adds weight to the view that house price weakness is far from over."
Meanwhile, the Bank of England kept interest rates at their historic low of 0.5% amid gathering clouds over the UK economic recovery.
Policymakers also resisted calls to pump more cash into the economy as fears grow over the impact of the Government's looming spending cuts.
But the decision is thought to disguise a three-way split emerging within the Bank's nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee as rate-setters are torn between moves to tackle high inflation and support the economy.