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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Merthyr named UK's house hotspot
Merthyr Tydfil Town centre
The Halifax says the average price in Merthyr is nearly 95,000
House prices have risen more in Merthyr Tydfil than anywhere else in the UK over the past year, according to a high street building society.

Two other Welsh towns, Neath and Port Talbot, also feature in the Halifax's top 10 property hotspots.

It says prices in Merthyr have risen by 53% in the last 12 months.

Earlier in the year the Land Registry named Merthyr as the cheapest place to buy a house in the country.

But according to figures released by the Halifax on Saturday the average price in the town is now nearly 95,000.

On a county level, properties in Gwynedd (40%) and the old West Glamorgan area (38%) have seen the biggest rises over the last year.

Top 10 hotspots
Merthyr Tydfil, Mid-Glamorgan - 53%
Bingley, West Yorkshire - 46%
Bootle, Merseyside - 44%
Hastings, East Sussex - 44%
Neath, Neath Port Talbot - 43%
Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot - 42%
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland - 41%
Corby, Northamptonshire - 40%
Cramlington, Northumberland - 40%
Hamilton, Strathclyde - 39%

The society says the house price divide between the south east of England and the rest of the UK is continuing to narrow.

The smallest rises were in Cambridgeshire (6%), East Sussex and Essex (both 7%), and Berkshire and West Sussex (both 8%).

The differential between the average house price in London and the UK has fallen to its lowest for six years in percentage terms.

Scotland remains the only part of the UK where the average price is below the 100,000 mark.

Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis said: "Areas outside southern England have seen the strongest house price rises over the past year with parts of Wales, Scotland and northern England experiencing particularly buoyant conditions.

"Whilst prices continue to rise more rapidly in the north, there are increasing signs that house price inflation here is slowing as first-time buyers face similar difficulties to those in the south in buying a home, and as the effects of the recent series of interest rate rises bite.

"We expect this trend to continue over the coming months, with prices slowing most markedly in the north, contributing to slower UK house price inflation."


SEE ALSO:
Property prices soar in Wales
09 Aug 04  |  Wales
'I can only afford to rent'
14 Sep 04  |  Wales


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