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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Big rise in house prices
Browsing for a house
House prices in Wales are rising faster than in England

The average price of a house in Wales has jumped by more than 23% in the last year.

Between January and March this year, the price of the average house in Wales was 90,585, compared to 73,276 during the same period in 2002.

The figures were released by the Land Registry, which records the ownership of land across England and Wales.

The 23.62% rise in Wales is 4% higher than the average rise across England and Wales, which stands at 19.7%.

But some estate agents are warning that the rise in property values has reached its peak and prices may be about to decrease.

More properties for sale and lower numbers of first-time buyers should cause house price growth to continue to fall over the remainder of this year
Martin Ellis, Halifax

And several areas of the south Wales valleys remain home to the cheapest property prices in the UK.

Blaenau Gwent remains the cheapest place to buy a home in the UK, with prices averaging 38,599.

It is followed by Merthyr Tydfil, where 44,130 will buy the average home.

That compares to the average house price across England and Wales, which now stands at 145,897.

Most expensive

The most expensive place to buy a house is Kensington and Chelsea, in London, where an average home costs 645,261.

Despite the continued rise in property prices recorded by the Land Registry, some banks and building societies have warned that prices have reached a peak.

Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender said in its own property survey this month that price rises were slowing down.

One reason for the slowdown was that more properties had come onto the market and that had kept prices down.

Halifax chief economist, Martin Ellis, said: "More properties for sale and lower numbers of first-time buyers should cause house price growth to continue to fall over the remainder of this year."

And the latest figures from the Principality Building Society indicated that house prices in Wales would not continue to grow at the same rate.

Principality Chief Executive Peter Griffiths said: "I would sound a note of caution to house owners across Wales that they should not necessarily expect the same level of increase in house prices for the rest of 2003."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Wales' Hywel Griffith
"Prices are up by 23% on this time last year"



SEE ALSO:
UK house price rises 'slowing'
02 Apr 03  |  Business
Housing boom 'coming to an end'
20 Feb 03  |  Business
Q&A: Is the house price boom over?
28 Apr 03  |  Business
Slim rise in house prices
02 May 03  |  Business
Welsh house prices up 20%
03 Apr 03  |  Wales


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