ONS reports 3.3pc house price rise
The year-on-year increase reflected growth of 3.4% in England, 2.4% in Wales and 3.1% in Scotland, which was offset by a decline of 5.7% in Northern Ireland.
The annual house price increase in England was fuelled by a 6.4% rise in London and a 3.7% rise in the South East. When London and the South East are excluded the increase drops to 1.9%.
Ali Mackay, director of North East based property buying agents YappYapp, described the national picture as “heart-warming”.
He said: “After a sharp decline and then a listless couple of years, in 2012 house prices enjoyed a gentle return to growth.”
The only region to report a decrease was the North East which was down 0.6%.
On a seasonally adjusted basis UK house prices increased by 0.9% between November and December.
The index also showed that prices paid by first-time buyers in December 2012 were 3.1% higher on average than in June 2011. For owner occupiers prices increased by 2.1% for the same period.
But Mackay warned that while growth was slowly returning it was still taking longer to sell many properties.
He said: “How much of this is down to sellers’ unrealistic expectations and how much is down to the fact that it’s clearly a buyer’s market is moot.
“For the country as a whole the worst is clearly past but stripped of the distorting effect of London, the recovery is still slow.”