Rising land costs help increase house prices: David Nicholson-Lord looks at the latest snapshot of society from the Central Statistical Office

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The Independent Online
DESPITE the housing slump of the last three years, house prices ended the 1980s nearly three times higher in some regions than at the start of the decade.

Regional Trends shows how the dramatic rise in the cost of land for building contributed to the increase in house prices.

In the worst-affected regions land prices have increased almost eightfold.

In East Anglia, housing land cost pounds 524,100 per hectare in 1990, compared with pounds 69,300 in 1981 (the 1981 prices have been revised to maintain comparability). The land price as a percentage of the house price increased from 14 to 45 over the same period.

In the South-east outside Greater London, the price of land went up from 20 to 44 per cent of the new house price, while in Wales it increased from 7 to 22 per cent.

In Greater London, land for housing went up in price from pounds 391,100 to pounds 2.19m per hectare.

By the end of the 1980s, the average new house price in the United Kingdom had risen from pounds 28,200 to pounds 76,700, or by 172 per cent. The biggest rises occurred in the North-west (195 per cent) and Yorkshire and Humberside (184 per cent).

The lowest rise was in Scotland - 134 per cent.

Between 1990 and 1991, house prices rose fastest in Scotland and Northern Ireland, both by more than 8 per cent. They fell in five regions, with the biggest falls in the South-east.