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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 00:16 GMT
House prices 'fell in late 2005'
A derelict house
Houses costing less than 10,000 have all but disappeared
House prices in England and Wales fell by 2% in the last three months of 2005, according to authoritative figures from the Land Registry.

The figures seem to contradict surveys from mortgage lenders which had claimed that prices started to accelerate as 2005 drew to a close.

According to the Land Registry, the average house price fell to 191,327 between October and December.

But the annual rate of price increase, at 4.6%, was similar to other surveys.

During 2005, house prices rose in all regions of England and Wales.

The biggest increase was in the North of England, at 8.5%, while the smallest was in the South West of England at 0.5%.

Some types of property were in markedly greater demand than others.

New detached properties rose in price by 8% over the last 12 months, as did older terraced houses.

However old flats and maisonettes went up by just 3%.

Cheap or expensive?

The lowest property prices, according to the Land Registry figures, are to be found in Kingston-upon-Hull - where the average property costs just 82,102.

What the mortgage lenders think

The fastest-rising prices were to be found in Hartlepool, up by 37% to an average of 104,152.

But the most expensive properties are still in London, where buying an average property in the borough of Kensington & Chelsea will cost 752,760.

More sales

The volume of sales rose even more noticeably than prices during the course of 2005.

The Land Registry, whose data include all transactions, said that sales in the last quarter of last year were running at a level 13% higher than the same period the year before.

With prices rising steadily, only four properties were sold for under 10,000 in the last quarter of 2005.

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