Halifax House Price Index

Amanda Jarvis

April 28, 2006

Cupar in Fife is Britain’s top property hotspot with a 36% rise in prices over the past year. Average prices in Cupar are up from £117,552 in 2005 Quarter 1 to £159,332 in 2006 Quarter 1.

Scottish towns continue to dominate the ten towns that have seen the biggest house price rises during the last 12 months with six towns in the list: Lochgelly, Coatbridge, Lanark, Kilwinning and Alexandria in addition to Cupar. All four towns recorded the biggest price rises in the past year are in Scotland. A year ago four of the top ten were in Scotland.

The remaining four towns in the top 10 comprise three in northern England — Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire, Darwen in Lancashire and Crook in County Durham — and one in Wales – Port Talbot.

The biggest house price rises in the first quarter of 2006 were in Wales (4.5%), East Anglia (3.4%) and East Midlands (3.0%). The rises in East Anglia and East Midlands were the strongest seen in these regions for at least eighteen months.

The average price in both East Midlands (£153,592) and Wales (£150,527) passed the £150,000 landmark for the first time in Quarter 1. The average price is now below £150,000 in only four regions: North, Yorkshire & the Humber, North West and Scotland.

The North (-1.2%) was the only region to record a house price fall in Quarter 1. This modest decline, however, needs to be viewed in the context of a 147% rise in the average price in the region over the past five years. Moreover, it is not expected this recent fall will mark the beginning of a downward trend in property prices in the North.

Annual house price inflation in 2006 Quarter 1 was in single digits in all the regions of Britain. The biggest gains in house prices over the past year have been in the North West (9.4%), Yorkshire and the Humber (9.3%) and Wales (8.8%). The smallest increases have been in the South West (1.7%), South East (2.1%) and East Midlands (3.7%).

The annual rate of house price inflation has slowed in all the regions of Britain over the past 12 months with the exception of Greater London where the increase in the past year (7.2%) outstrips the gain in the preceding 12 months (1.1%).

Commenting on the housing market in the UK, Martin Ellis, chief economist, said: “Scottish towns dominate the list of places recording the highest house price rises over the past year. Scotland’s relative affordability has been a key factor behind the country’s outperformance of the rest of Britain.

“All 10 towns delivering the strongest price rises over the past year have average house prices below the national average. The relatively high affordability of property in these towns has made them attractive to buyers as they have hunted for bargains. Another common feature of many of these towns has been their close proximity to major conurbations, making them suitable for commuting to major employment centres.

“The annual rate of house price inflation has slowed in all the regions of Britain over the past 12 months with the exception of Greater London. The UK housing market is set for a period of broad stability during 2006 with house prices forecast to rise by 3%, broadly in line with the predicted rise in retail price inflation. Low, single digit, growth is expected to be the norm across most of the country.”

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