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House prices up 5% in 2005

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House prices increased by 5% in 2005, aided by a 1% rise in December, according to the latest figures from Halifax.

Despite the fact that prices performed far better than the 2% decline predicted by the lender, this was still the smallest annual increase for 10 years and below the long-term average of 8%.

Halifax said the annual rate of inflation had slowed in all regions of the UK, except in London where prices rose by an average of 6.7%, compared with a 3.9% rise in 2004.

Scotland recorded the biggest gains, with prices up 14.8% over the year. Second came Northern Ireland, where price

inflation reached 14.1%, followed by the north of England (up 9.1%) and Yorkshire (8.4%).

East Anglia and the south-west both saw prices fall – down 1% and 1.9% respectively. This is the first time Halifax has recorded annual price falls in any of the regions since 2000.

The fourth quarter of 2005 was also notable in that it saw the average price in greater London break through the £250,000 barrier for the first time, the lender said.

Homes in the capital reached an average of £257,120 in December, compared with an average across the UK of £169,901.



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