Northern property popularity increases

12 July 2004
The release of the new Halifax house price index reveals that property up North is hotting up.

The regional house prices for the second quarter of 2004 show the top ten property hotspots are all outside southern England.

Crewe has experienced the biggest increase in prices (58 per cent), followed by Carlisle (55 per cent) and Accrington (54 per cent). The North West and Scotland are now the best represented regions in the UK top 10.

Six of the ten counties recording the smallest house price increases were in southern England, including the lowest in Dorset with only seven per cent.

The figures further show that the gap between the average house price in London and the UK has narrowed, falling to its lowest for over five years in percentage terms.

Commenting on the housing market in the UK, Halifax chief economist, Martin Ellis, said: "The rapid rise in house prices over the last two or three years in northern Britain and Wales, however, means that increasing numbers of first-time buyers in these parts of the country now face similar difficulties to those in the south in getting onto the housing ladder."

Over the past year, the biggest price rises have been in northern England and Wales, with the North leading the pack on 36 per cent, closely followed by Wales with 36 per cent.

During the second quarter the average price in both West Midlands (£152,869) and East Anglia (£154,989) surpassed the £150,000 barrier for the first time, joining Greater London, the South East and the South West as regions above this mark.

Mr Ellis concluded that he expects to see the current trend of house price inflation slowing and prices rising by less "to continue during the second half of the year, contributing to slower overall UK house price inflation."