Average UK property prices up again as latest indices show upward trend but some parts of the country see price falls

Residential property prices in the UK are continuing to rise according to the latest published indices but it is a scattered patterns with some parts of the country seeing no changes and other experiencing price falls.

Prices rose 0.6% according to the latest survey from the Land Registry, the fifth monthly rise in a row to an average of £159,546, although that was still 3.4% lower than a year ago. The biggest monthly rise was 1.9% in north-west England, while the biggest fall was 2.3% in Wales.

While the latest survey from housing intelligence group Hometrack shows that the average cost of a home increased by 0.2% in November to £156,700, the fourth monthly increasing putting prices some 3.4% lower than a year ago.

Prices rose by 0.4% in London during November and by 0.3% in the South West, but all other regions saw gains of just 0.1% or no change. Overall, only 17.6% of postcode areas saw increases during the month.

The group said prices were now higher than they had been six months ago across only 37% of the country, with London and the South East most likely to have postcode areas where prices were now higher at 78% and 50% respectively Hometrack said the recovery had been driven by rising demand and it warned that there were signs the rush of potential buyers coming to the market was beginning to falter. Estate agents reported only a 0.1% rise in the number of new buyers registered on their books during November, and demand is expected to drop off further in the run up to Christmas.

‘The recent pick up in prices and activity had not been seen across the whole country. The stark reality is that there are large swathes of the country where prices have remained unchanged or have seen continued price falls,’ said Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack.

Oliver Gilmartin, economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said he expects prices to continue rising in the next couple of months due to an ongoing shortage of property listings relative to demand.

The consultancy firm Capital Economics predicted though that the rise in prices of the past few months would soon run out of steam. ‘The shortage of available property may mean that prices continue to increase in the near-term, but with employment set to fall further, we expect house prices to resume their downward trend in 2010,’ it said.


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