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House & Home

House prices fall for 15th month


House prices have fallen year-on-year for the 15th month in a row, official figures showed today.

Prices dropped by 0.6% both annually and on a monthly basis in March, pushing the average house price in England and Wales to £160,372, the Land Registry said.

The figures were released on the same day that more than a million home owners saw the cost of their mortgage payments go up, following a string of rate rise announcements from lenders, who have blamed the weak economy and the increased cost of funding a mortgage.

The majority of those affected are Halifax customers, who could typically find themselves paying nearly £200 extra a year, with the Co-operative Bank, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank also among those who have made increases.

The North East recorded the biggest monthly house price rise, with a 5.6% increase pushing average prices to £101,676, although on a year-on-year basis, prices in the region decreased by 2.8%.

London, which has recorded relatively strong increases as the rest of the market remains patchy, saw a 1.8% monthly fall, taking typical prices to £343,522, although the English capital recorded the strongest annual rise, at 0.7%.

The annual price change for London, which has had strong interest from overseas buyers, has not fallen below zero since September 2009.

Wales recorded the biggest monthly and annual house price falls, with drops of 4.1% and 5.5% respectively, taking the typical price to £113,036.

The latest figures also showed that the number of sales has increased slightly over the year.

From October 2011 to January this year there were 55,661 sales per month on average, compared with 52,363 a month during the same period a year earlier.

Analysts have suggested that a stamp duty concession for first-time buyers which recently ended encouraged a rush to complete sales at the start of this year.

The number of homes sold in England and Wales for more than £1 million in January this year, the latest month for which the figures are available, decreased by 6% year-on-year to 467.