AVERAGE asking prices slipped back in August despite a scarcity of fresh stock and record search activity, according to property website Rightmove.<br /><br />Rightmove figures showed a 2.2 per cent fall in new sellers’ asking prices as summer sellers price more realistically, putting the average property asking price at £222,762. The yearly decline remained at 3.1 per cent.<br /><br />London house prices consolidated their return to annual growth in August, with prices now 2.1 per cent higher than they were in August 2008. But they fell 3.8 per cent on the previous month. <br /><br />Rightmove said the fall re-enforces the fact that we will see a period of bumping along the bottom before a return to growth in house prices. <br /><br />Miles Shipside, its commercial director, said: “After several months of activity and prices revving upwards from last winter’s low point, both will start to hit the limiter without more mortgage finance. Future price and transaction growth is now controlled by the bottleneck of mortgage availability. This is unlikely to change for years to come,” Rightmove added.<br /><br />But the website saw record traffic in July, registering 585m property pages viewed beating the previous high of 568m reached 16 months ago, due to improving buyer sentiment. <br /><br />Three-quarters of respondents to the latest Rightmove consumer confidence survey do not expect prices to fall in the next 12 months. The number of new sellers measured this month is 82,700, 23 per cent lower than last August.