House price growth in the South 'weaker'

House price growth in the South has been outperformed by gains seen in northern regions of the UK by more than 25% during the past decade, research has indicated.

The average cost of a home in the North is now 102% higher than it was at the end of 2000, but house prices in the South have risen by only 75% during the same period, according to high street bank Halifax. The stronger price growth in northern regions has helped to narrow the gap between property values in the two areas.

At an average of £206,091, the typical home in the South now costs only 56% more than in the North, where property values average £132,163, compared with 80% more 10 years ago.

But the group said there were signs that the trend was reversing as, in terms of individual regions, the South East has seen the biggest price gains during the past five years at 4%, while the North has recorded the steepest falls of 10%.

Across the whole of the UK, house prices are now 91% higher than they were at the end of 2000 at £164,310 - an increase of more than £78,000.

But the headline figure masks considerable variation in the performance of house prices, with property values rising by 132% to peak at £199,766 between the end of 2000 and the third quarter of 2007, before falling by 21% to stand at £157,767 in the second quarter of 2009.

House price growth has been volatile during the past year, with values rising in some months but falling in others, leaving property values 4% higher than when they reached their trough in 2009, and at a similar level to at the end of 2005.

Suren Thiru, Halifax housing economist, said: "The turn of this century marked the start of a period of strong house price growth across the UK. The traditional home of price gains, the South, was left behind by strong growth in the North where house prices more than doubled over the period.

"However, recently, there has been a slight reversal of this trend with housing market in the South of England outperforming the rest of the country over the past few years."

The six regions that have seen the biggest house price gains since 2000 are all outside of the South, with the North leading the way with an increase of 130%, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber at 125% and Wales at 108%.

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