House prices up 1%

January house prices were up 1% over December figures with the average house price in England and Wales now at £162,441

London experienced the greatest increase in its average property
value over the last 12 months, up 7.1 per cent, according to new
figures out this morning from the Land Registry. It also had the
greatest monthly rise with an increase of 2.5 per cent.

The North West experienced the greatest annual price fall with a decrease of 4.2 per cent and the biggest monthly price fall with a drop of 1.9 per cent.

During November 2012, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales rose by 1 per cent to 61,091 compared with 60,369 in November 2011.

The number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1 million in November 2012 increased by 19 per cent to 657 from 554 in November 2011.

The latest figures out this morning from the Land Registry also show that there were 1,589 repossessions in England and Wales during November 2012. The only region to see an increase in repossessions is Wales with an annual increase of 21 per cent (November 2012 compared with November 2011).

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said "The national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outstrip the rest. We expect this situation to continue throughout this year.

"On the lending front, the picture is increasingly positive with some of the cheapest mortgages ever seen. Lenders continue to cut rates and offer more choice at higher loan-to-values as well, which is boosting the number of first-time buyers.

"There was a welcome drop in the number of repossessions in November 2012 compared with the same month a year ago but any repossession is one too many. It is also worrying that so many homeowners can still be repossessed while interest rates are at historic lows. More needs to be done, and lenders need to continue to show forbearance towards borrowers."

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