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Annual house prices leap up as transactions rise

Annual house prices leap up as transactions rise

House prices across the country are 6.5% up on a year ago, Nationwide reported this morning.

The lender, reporting on house prices this month, puts the average at £174,566 – up 0.6% on October, when there was a 1% rise on the month before.

Nationwide said that prices were nevertheless still 6% below the all-time high of late 2007. Its economist Robert Gardner said: "Activity in the housing market has picked up strongly in recent months." He said policy measures taken by the Government had helped, pointing out that in September, there were 66,735 approvals for house purchase mortgages, up 34% on the same month a year ago.

The Nationwide report today follows a much more muted one from the Land Registry which yesterday said that house prices across England and Wales edged down by just 0.2% in October to stand at £165,515.

Annual house price inflation was put at 3.1% by the Land Registry.

However, it also noted that house price movements were very regional, with falls in four areas – the south-east, Yorkshire & the Humber, the north-west and north-east. The biggest fall was in the north-east at 3.1%.

Everywhere else, there were small movements upwards, all 0.6% or under. The exception was Wales where the monthly rise was 2.4%.

In London, average prices rose 0.2% in October to stand at £390,720 – up 8.7% over the year.

Sales volumes for August – the latest month for which transaction data is available – were 74,767, up 15% from 65,014 in August 2012.

In London, house sales were also up, standing at 10,302, up 14% from the 9,007 of August last year. The biggest percentage rise was in houses selling for over £2m where there was a 63% uplift.

Repossessions continued on their downward trend, averaging 1,277 per month between May and August. In August itself there were 1,200 repossessions, down 29% from the 1,682 of August last year.

The Land Registry announced its data yesterday, as the Government pulled the plug on Funding for Lending for mortgages.