UK house price growth has stalled for the first time in over a year and a half as the surge of demand from would-be buyers tails off, property analyst Hometrack has reported.
The zero percentage change recorded month-on-month across England and Wales in September marks the first time property values have seen no monthly increase since January 2013.
Hometrack said this is a sign that the market has now come to the end of the "strong" cycle seen over the last 18 months.
A wave of pent-up demand had been unleashed by the recovering economy amid a widened availability of mortgage deals, particularly following the launch of the UK government's Help to Buy low-deposit scheme last spring.
With buyers becoming more scarce on the ground, they may now start gaining the upper hand over sellers, although overall, market activity is likely to drop back in the coming months, it said.
The volume of buyers registering with estate agents is now falling at a much faster rate than the percentage change in the number of properties coming up for sale, Hometrack's figures show.
The number of new buyers registering with agents saw a 2.6% fall in September, while the change in property listings only saw a slight 0.3% dip.
Hometrack said the balance between demand and supply has "narrowed rapidly" in the last five months to the point where it has turned negative, pointing to a slowdown in price growth.
Today's figures show that London experienced a pronounced slowdown in market activity, Hometrack said.
The city was the only area to see house prices fall month-on-month in September, with a 0.1% decline. Some 5% of districts in London are seeing prices fall, while less than 1% are seeing higher prices.
Prices were unchanged in Wales, East Anglia, the East Midlands, the North East, the South West and the West Midlands.
They increased by 0.1% in the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and in the South East, with some commuter belt areas having felt a "ripple effect" from the strong house price growth which has previously been seen in London.
Hometrack said that while seasonal factors can partly explain the slowdown moving into autumn, the market does appear to have reached the end of an 18-month cycle of strong price growth.
"The loss of momentum in price growth comes at the end of a very strong run of 18 months, in which the market was fuelled by pent-up demand, with Help to Buy fanning positive market sentiment," commented Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack.
"That surge of demand has now receded, bringing the latest cycle to an end with no equivalent buyer push or pull on the horizon," he added.
Mr Donnell said that tougher mortgage affordability checks on the back of rule changes in April, speculation over possible interest rate rises and also the debate over Scottish independence may have added to feelings of consumer uncertainty recently.
"Although the lead indicators suggest that buyers will start to gain the upper hand, there are many home owners who don't need to sell and won't bother unless it's financially beneficial to do so. "The net result is a likely drop-off in activity in the coming months," he stated.
The report is based on a monthly survey of UK estate agents and surveyors about achievable selling prices.