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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
House prices in renewed surge
House prices in England and Wales are growing strongly again after a slowdown in late 2001, an authoritative survey has confirmed.

Least affordable towns for first-time buyers
Sevenoaks
Twickenham
Richmond
Windsor
Kingston-upon-Thames
Bishops Stortford
Winchester
Maidenhead
St Albans
London

Source: Halifax
The cost of the average house in England and Wales rose to 121,881 between January and March 2002, 10.23% up on the same period last year, the Land Registry said in its latest report.

The figures confirm that the property market has recovered strongly from a slowdown during the final three months of 2001, blamed on the 11 September attacks.

In October to December 2001, the average house price rose 8.46% on the year, but fell 4% compared with the previous three-month period.

Authoritative

The latest Land Registry study tallies with recent surveys from mortgage lenders signalling that house prices are on the increase.

Most affordable towns for first-time buyers
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Bootle, North West
Kilwinning, Scotland
Fraserburgh, Scotland
Lochgelly, Scotland
Abertillery, Wales
Irvine, Scotland
Nelson, North West
Glenrothes, Scotland
Leven, Scotland

Source: Halifax
Last week, the Nationwide Building Society said average UK house prices had risen by a record 3.4% in April.

The Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, pegged house price inflation for April at a more moderate 0.7%.

The Land Registry report, based on historical transactions, is seen as the most comprehensive survey of the UK property market.

London lags behind

The latest figures show that house price growth in London continues to lag behind the rest of England and Wales.

East Anglia came top of the house price inflation league, with property prices there climbing more than 20% on the year to 112,695.

The south west was next in line, racking up an 18.18% increase in housing costs.

But greater London, with house price growth of just 9.07%, was ranked bottom.

The disparity in growth rates suggests that the traditional gap between house prices in the capital and the regions may be narrowing.

Price disparity

However, London, where property prices have grown strongly for most of the last 10 years, remains by far the most expensive place to buy a home.

A house in the capital now costs an average of 214,257.

At the other end of the scale, a house in the north of England costs an average of just 68,278.

In another piece of research, the Halifax reports that Sevenoaks is the least affordable town in the UK for first-time buyers.

The research compares the cost of a new home with the buyer's borrowing capacity based on an average income multiple of 3.25 and a deposit of 5%.

The same report finds that Kirkcaldy in Scotland is the most affordable town.

See also:

09 May 02 | Business
UK interest rates kept on hold
31 Jan 02 | Business
UK house price growth 'to slow'
03 Jan 02 | Business
UK house price growth 'past peak'
21 Jan 02 | Business
Banks curb mortgage lending
08 Feb 02 | Business
House prices fall as sales drop
03 May 02 | Business
UK house prices up again
30 Apr 02 | Business
Housing market sees 'record growth'
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