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House price shifts vary

11 April 2003
A survey conducted by the UK's biggest mortgage lender, Halifax, has confirmed widely expected trends in house prices.

A major slowdown is indicated for some regions in the first quarter of 2003, during which time London house prices rose by less than three per cent. But at the same time some regions have performed far better.

The North of England posted the highest rises, at around 8.1 per cent, although average prices there are still less than half those of the capital. This fits with expectations that the north of England is likely to see greater growth than the south this year.

Other regions that grew fast include Yorkshire and Humber, Wales and East Anglia, all of which recorded more than six per cent house price rises.

Despite reports that the economy is weakening, prices rose in every region on the British mainland, though in Scotland this rise was less than one per cent. However, Northern Ireland saw more than a five per cent fall in house prices.

Analysts have said that the disparities in the housing market are as expected, with a slowdown in London and the south but continued price rises in other regions. This trend is also expected to continue for the rest of the year.