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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 13:07 GMT
House prices end 2006 on the rise
Kensington estate agent
Prices rose by 16.3% in Kensington & Chelsea
House price inflation picked up towards the end of 2006 in England and Wales, the latest report from the Land Registry says.

During the year to December, prices rose on average by 7.8%, driven bythe continued surge of London prices which went up by 10.4%

The region with the lowest rate of property inflation was the North East where prices climbed 4.5% last year.

According to the report the average property price is now 173,717.

The annual rate recorded in November was 6.8%

Wide variations

The survey showed that in 2006 property inflation accelerated after slowing down in the previous three years.

Despite three increases in interest rates since last August, there has so far been little evidence of a slowdown in property prices.

Variation by county or unitary authority was even wider than by region

Neath Port Talbot saw prices rise by 14%, with Brighton & Hove (up 13%), Carmarthenshire (12%), Kingston upon Hull (11%), Bristol (11%), Greater London (10.4%) and Middlesbrough (10.4%) not far behind.

Only Darlington saw prices fall last year, dropping by just under half of one per cent.

Within London there was also a big variation in price inflation.

While the cost of buying a property shot up by 16% in Kensington & Chelsea, it rose by just 4.1% in Barking & Dagenham.

The rise in prices continued to eradicate the cheapest properties from the market.

There were just 1,116 houses or flats sold for under 50,000 in England and Wales during October (the last month for which figures are available) - a drop of 42% on the year before.

And in London the number of homes selling for less than 150,000 dropped by 29% over the previous 12 months to just 1,075.

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