House prices down 1.3% in 2011

House prices down 1.3% in 2011

Mortgage lender the Halifax claims that house prices fell by 1.3 per cent last year to an average of £160,063, their lowest level since July 2009.

According to the Halifax House Price Index, house prices fell 0.9 per cent in December, compared with the previous month.

Although prices rose in the third quarter of 2010, they fell by 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, offsetting the earlier quarter’s increase.

The bank expects prices to be stable throughout 2012 unless the economy falls into another recession.

The report contradicts earlier figures from Nationwide, which suggested that house prices rose by 1 per cent in 2011.

Property prices have plummeted since the onset of the credit crunch, with banks and building societies exercising extreme caution over lending, making mortgages very difficult to obtain, especially for first-time buyers.

Recent research by property valuation website Zoopla suggests that some regions have fared significantly better than others when it comes to property prices.

Zoopla recorded an overall fall in UK house prices last year, but an increase of nearly 7 per cent in Scotland, where the average house now costs £164,844.

Zoopla’s research suggests the average house price in Britain is now £221,331, significantly higher than the Halifax’s figure of £160,063.

According to Zoopla the average price in England fell 0.75 per cent in 2011, to £228,926, whilst the average price in Wales fell 0.1 per cent to £153,826, compared with 2010.

Zoopla also reported a widening of the north/south divide in England, with house prices rising in London and the south-east, but falling in the north.

It suggests the average house price in London, where demand for property is high, increased 2.3 per cent last year to £416,890, while prices fell 5.8 per cent in north-east England to £156,659.

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