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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
UK house price growth slows down
A couple looking at a property
House price inflation slowed in the year to February
House price inflation across the UK slowed slightly in the year to February, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

The annual inflation rate was 3.6% in February, down from 4.3% in January.

The ODPM survey, based on completed sales, found that the average house price actually fell between January and February from 185,404 to 183,224.

House price inflation rose in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but fell in back a little in England.

Blip?

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The slowdown in UK house price inflation, recorded by the ODPM, flies in the face of recent market surveys from the Halifax and Nationwide.

Both the Halifax and Nationwide have said that the market has picked up markedly since the start of the year.

"The ODPM was very odd in the context of the upward thrust from other housing indicators," Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said.

"We view this as a blip in an otherwise upward trend," he added.

North-south divide

Across the UK house price inflation varied sharply, with a marked north-south divide.

Annual house price inflation in Northern Ireland topped 15%, while in Scotland prices rose 11.5% in the year to February.

Likewise, Wales has seen renewed house price growth. The annual rate of Welsh price growth climbed from 6.4% to 6.5% during February.

Yorkshire and north east and north west England all saw prices rises of between 7% and 8.6% in the year to February.

However, at the other of the scale, in most parts of southern England house prices have only grown by low single digits or have actually started to go into reverse.

In London, average prices rose by 1.9% during the year to February, down from 5.3% in January.

The inflation rate for eastern England fell to below zero, meaning average house prices are lower than they were a year ago.


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