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Slight increase in UK house prices masks regional decline

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UK house prices have increased by 1.5% in the twelve months to October, despite declines in some regions, according to the Office for National Statistics house price index.

Overall, prices increased slightly, driven by growth of over 3% in London and Yorkshire and The Humber. However, prices fell by 11.7% in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands and the Scottish markets also saw a slight drop.

Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association executive director Peter Williams said the figures showed there were reasons to be optimistic about growth in 2013-14: “House prices continue to remain reasonably stable across most of the UK although there are some regional discrepancies, with London and the South East seeing the largest increase. It is clear that the North/South divide is still a reality when it comes to the property market.”

First-time buyers were the most likely to notice the change – prices paid by first-time buyers rose by 1.8% on October 2011 compared to 1.3% for existing owners.

Prices were highest in London, where the average property went for just under £400,000, or over twice the price of most regions. Prices in the North East and Northern Ireland were the cheapest, with the average home sold for less than £150,000.

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