House prices see 2012 pick-up, says Land Registry

Housing expert Henry Pryor says 2013 will be another tough year for house prices

House prices in England and Wales rose by 1.7% in 2012 - the fastest rate for more than two years, the Land Registry has said.

The average price of a property rose by 0.8% in December compared with the previous month, bringing the average price to £162,080.

The rise during 2012 was driven by property values in London.

The figures suggested prices overall were increasing, unlike data recorded in other recent surveys.

Earlier in January, the Halifax reported that UK house prices fell by 0.3% in 2012, while the Nationwide estimated the fall was even greater, at 1%.

Figures from the Land Registry are based on actual sales, whereas the Nationwide and the Halifax base their surveys on their own mortgage approvals.

"However, the national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outperform the rest," said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

"We expect this situation to continue this year."

The Land Registry data showed that prices in London rose by 8.4% last year, while prices in the North West of England fell by 3.5%.

The number of property repossessions was reported in the Land Registry's monthly statistics for the first time and showed a continued fall in 2012.

In the year to October, the total number of repossessions fell by 16%. The biggest improvement was in the North East of England, where repossessions fell by 35%.

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