House prices fell by 0.4% in May as the UK took a breath before the EU Referendum vote on 23 June, the LSL Property Services/Acadata House Price Index has revealed.
The market also experienced a correction after the rush to buy before the 3% stamp duty surcharge came into force on 1 April.
The 0.4% fall was the steepest since May 2011 while it was the weakest May for home sales in five years.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “The housing market is holding its breath ahead of the EU referendum and after a rapid sprint at the start of the year.
“This 0.4% dip in average house prices in England and Wales since April will be a welcome respite for those hoping to get their first foot on the ladder.
“May’s correction in property values also follows on from a surge in activity earlier in the year, when second-home buyers and landlords brought forward their purchases to avoid the stamp duty surcharge.
“That tax hike and the government’s anti-landlord policies are weighing down the market, but the main factor is short-term confidence ahead of the 23 June referendum.”
Annual house price growth slowed to 6.8% in May, down from 7.7% in April.