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Last Updated: Monday, 12 December 2005, 15:42 GMT
House price inflation falls again
Browsing an estate agent's window.
Will house prices rise again?
House prices across the UK continued to slow in the year to October, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has said.

The annual rate of house price growth was 2.2% in October, down from 3.3% in September, in line with other commercial surveys, it found.

The ODPM's survey, based on a sample of 40,000 completed sales, showed that average house prices fell in October.

It said that the average home cost 186,103 in the month, compared with 186,755 for September.

Recent surveys

Since October there have been indications that house prices may be starting to pick up again.

Two weeks ago the country's biggest mortgage lender, the Halifax, reported that prices in November were rising at an annual rate of nearly 5% a year.

That may have been due to a revival of activity in the market following the sudden slump that started in the summer of last year.

According to the Bank of England, the number of new mortgages approved but not yet lent, which is widely seen as an indicator of future trends, has reached its highest level for 18 months.

Estate agents have also reported that more people have been enquiring about buying properties.

Regional variations

The trend reported by the ODPM disguises some quite wide regional variations.

In London prices have actually fallen a fraction, down by 0.2% in the past year.

In Wales however house prices have been accelerating and are now up by 10% over the last twelve months.

Although Scotland and Northern Ireland have seen prices slow down, they are still rising significantly faster than the national average, and in October were up by 9% and 11% respectively.

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