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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 00:01 GMT
House prices 'now top 200,000'
A large house in Kensington Palace Gardens
The average house price in Kensington & Chelsea is nearly 1m
The average house in England and Wales now costs more than 200,000, according to the Land Registry.

Its latest quarterly report, which studies sales between July and September, shows that the average price rose to 211,453, up 9% on the year.

The most expensive county in which to buy a property was Surrey, where prices averaged 351,000.

But prices were higher in nine London boroughs, with properties in Kensington & Chelsea costing 942,000 on average.

The number of properties being sold in England & Wales was up 17% on a year ago. However, while still a sharp rise, this annual growth rate is lower than that recorded in the previous three months.

Buoyant market

The Land Registry figures confirm other evidence from lenders and market experts that show the property market has been very buoyant this year.

The strength in the market has come despite the rise in interest rates in August and the widespread expectation that the Bank of England will push rates even higher when it meets this week.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called for the bank to lift rates.

"The recovery of the economy this year has exceeded all expectations," said RICS chief economist Milan Khatri.

"The stock market is at its highest level for over 5 years and there has yet to be any noticeable negative impact from the August interest rate rise on the economy or the housing market," he added.

Onwards and upwards

The seemingly relentless rise in property values is rapidly eliminating the number of low-priced houses on the market.

The number of houses or flats being sold for less than 30,000 has more than halved over the last year. Between July and September 2005, 1,441 properties in this price range were sold, but in the same three months this year just 686 were sold.

Only three areas of England and Wales still have an average property price below 100,000.

These are Stoke-on-Trent (99,000), Kingston-upon-Hull (91,000) and Blaenau Gwent (88,000).

Meanwhile the number of properties selling for more than 1m has risen by 52% over the past year to 1,731.

However, a few places have missed out on the latest leg of the house price boom.

In the past year, prices have actually fallen in Blackpool, Anglesey, Leicester and Monmouthshire.

Different surveys

The Land Registry recently launched a new monthly house price index which indicated that in October the average house price in England and Wales was only 169,569.

A spokeswoman for the Land Registry said that the two reports were not comparable.

While the quarterly report records the average price of all house sales, the new survey only measures the prices of properties that have been sold at least twice - repeat sales - since April 2000.

It is also seasonally adjusted, whereas the quarterly report is not.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES BY REGION
REGION July - Sept 2005 July - Sept 2006 Increase
North 130,948 143,297 9%
North West 139,929 152,491 9%
Yorks & Humberside 141,582 153,560 8%
Wales 145,188 154,741 7%
West Midlands 161,076 173,778 8%
East Midlands 155,630 163,075 5%
East Anglia 180,053 194,543 8%
South West 202,249 217,222 7%
South East 243,833 251,008 7%
Greater London 300,329 330,838 10%
Source: Land Registry




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