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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
House price inflation picks up
Browsing an estate agents window
Prices have shot up in Northern Ireland
House price inflation in the UK is still accelerating, government figures indicate.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) - formerly the ODPM - says prices rose by 5.6% in the year to May, up from 5.1%% in April.

According to the government survey the average house or flat in the UK now costs 190,051.

Prices have picked up particularly strongly in Northern Ireland, where prices are 16.9% up on a year ago.

The one-month rise from April to May was 0.9%, the DCLG said.

Different picture

The latest figures are in contrast to recent figures from mortgage lenders that show that the property market is slowing.

Halifax reported that prices fell in June by 1.2% amid consumers' concerns over higher interest rates.

Similarly, Nationwide showed that what was interpreted as a revival in the housing market earlier in the year could be at its end after prices increased by only 0.2% in May and 0.3% in June.

One explanation for the difference between the government's figures and other surveys is the basis of calculation.

The DCLG figures use house prices on completion, while mortgage lenders use mortgage approval numbers or asking prices.

"Therefore the DCLG figures are not directly comparable with these other indicators," said the DCLG.

"We expect house prices to settle back into an extended period of relatively modest rises," said Howard Archer, an economist with Global Insight.

Most expensive

London is still the most expensive place in the UK to buy a home, with average prices at 279,418.

The chepeast homes are to be found in Scotland, with the average price is 136,553.

However, homes in Scotland saw a sharp increase in price, rising by 9.3% annually.

The highest increase in England was in the North East, which saw an increase of 7.6%, followed by 7.1% in London

Overall, house price inflation rose in five English regions and fell in three, while it remained stable in London.

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