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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK
House price rises slow
Moving house
The number of house sales has fallen

House prices have increased by almost 13% in England and Wales in the past year, but the rate of growth has fallen significantly, official figures show.

The Land Registry said prices were 12.52% higher in the three months from April to June 2003 against the same period a year earlier, with the average home now worth 149,935.

But price rises have slowed dramatically as between January and March house prices were showing annual rises of nearly 20%.

The number of sales has also fallen by more than 16%. Recent property surveys have suggested this is due to first-time buyers being priced out of the market.

Million pound properties

The Land Registry figures confirm the recent trend of prices rising faster outside London and the South East.

Every other day seems to bring a fresh house price survey, but each often appears to contradict the last

The East Midlands, North of England and Wales saw the biggest rises.

While Greater London remains the most expensive place to buy a house, price increases have slowed markedly.

Prices rose by 5.96% between April and June, down from a rise of 12.07% in January to March, when compared with the same period last year.

Between April and June the number of sales in the capital fell by more than a quarter to 28,911 from 38,681 a year before.

But, despite the slowdown, the million pound plus housing market picked up slightly, with 338 properties worth more than 1m sold, compared to 303 in the previous quarter.

The capital remained by far the most expensive part of the country, with prices averaging 246,710 - far higher than the national average of 149,935.

Mixed fortunes

While prices have risen consistently in many parts of the country, the rate of growth has increased in only two regions: Wales and the North of England.

Property rises in the South West cooled slightly, but are still growing at a healthy rate.

In the first three months of 2003 prices in this region rose by 26.14% compared with the same period last year. But between April and June prices rose by 19.84%.

In the South East where price rises have also cooled, growth still outstripped the North West where average prices increased by 15.27% to 96,253.

Country/Region Apr-Jun 2002 Apr-Jun 2003 % Increase
Average price Average price
England & Wales 133,247 149,935 12.52%
East Midlands 96,636 120,759 24.96%
North 73,444 91,179 24.15%
Wales 79,397 98,186 23.66%
Yorks & Humber 81,364 99,740 22.58%
East Anglia 120,315 144,427 20.04%
South West 136,881 164,036 19.84%
West Midlands 105,590 125,817 19.16%
South East 168,111 194,924 15.95%
North West 83,505 96,253 15.27%
Greater London 232,830 246,710 5.96%
Source: Land Registry

The BBC's Jenny Scott
"If borrowing gets more expensive the housing market could slow even further"

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