Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

House market 'bouncing back quicker in South'

The housing market in the South has bounced back more quickly than that in the North following the steep price falls seen since 2007, research indicated today.

The top 10 areas which have been the most resilient to the housing market downturn are all in the South, while eight out of the 10 worst performing regions are in the North, according to property website Zoopla.co.uk.

Average house prices across England are 8.7% below their 2007 peak at £225,045, although they are 11.2% higher then at their lowest point in March 2009.

Bath and North East Somerset has led the recovery, with prices now just 1.5% or £4,398 lower than the high they reached in 2007.

The London market has also performed strongly, with property prices recovering all but 3.5% of the amount they lost, while in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire they are 4.7% and 4.8% respectively below their peak.

Hertfordshire, West Sussex, South Gloucestershire, West Berkshire, Hampstead and Surrey complete the top 10 best performing regions, with prices in all of these areas within 5.5% or less of their 2007 high.

But at the other end of the scale, house prices are still 11.2% down on their 2007 peak in Lincolnshire, while they are 11% lower in Nottingham, 10.7% lower in South Yorkshire and 10.5% down in Worcestershire.

The West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester are also among the 10 worst performing regions for house prices, with the Isle of Wight and North Somerset the only regions outside of the North to make it on to the list.

Research by the group also found that the top 10 regions with the highest house prices were all in the South, while the 10 regions with the lowest property values were all in the North.

The average cost of a home in London at £413,350 is nearly three-and-a-half times more expensive than the average cost of one in North Lincolnshire, where house prices are lowest, at £124,921.

Nicholas Leeming, commercial director of Zoopla.co.uk, said: "In terms of both current house prices and market performance over the past three years, there is a clear north-south divide.

"The manufacturing base of the Midlands was severely hit by the recession and heavy job losses have taken their toll on the region's economy.

"As the economy strengthens the housing market will likely perform best in those areas least sensitive to the upcoming public sector cuts and the property divide looks set to get even wider."