The number of houses sold dropped by 18% in February compared with the year-earlier period, according to figures released on Friday by the land registry office.
Last month 7,805 houses changed hands compared with average monthly sales in 2011 of 10,061. The number of mortgages was down by one-third on last February.
Apartments in particular did badly, says the land registry, down 22.4%. In January the figure was 21.4%.
Detached houses did better, with a 2.2% decrease in sales compared with 5.8% in January.