House prices fell in April
Land Registry figures confirm that house prices fell last month, after surveys by the Halifax, Nationwide and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors all reported a decline.
The Land Registry said that the price of houses in England and Wales fell by 0.3% in April, with the average house price falling to £160,417.
The decline follows the end of the stamp duty exemption on houses priced between £125.000 and £250,000, at the end of March.
The price of properties in the West Midlands fell the most month-on-month, with a 2.7 per cent fall from March.
The biggest annual fall was in Yorkshire in Humberside, where property prices fell by 5.6 per cent compared with April 2011.
A completely different picture emerged in London, where prices increased by 5.1 per cent in April compared with the previous month.
The Land Registry said: “The divergence between house prices in London and those of the rest of the country has increased sharply this month.
“The average price of property in the capital is £360,721 in comparison with the average for England and Wales of £160,417.”
In the rental market, there has been an increase in the number of tenants in arrears, according to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).
A squeeze on earnings and rising rents contributed to a 27 per cent increase in calls to the CCCS in 2011, compared with the previous year.
The service received more than 10,000 requests for help with rent arrears last year, with the arrears averaging at around £760 per tenant across all types of house.
In the private rental sector, the average level of arrears reached £924.
Delroy Corinaldi of CCCS said: “A very large number of people are struggling to keep up with their rent payments – and with rents near record highs, the problem is getting worse, not better.”