House prices post fourth monthly gain

UK House prices rose for a fourth consecutive month in November driven by continued rising demand, according to housing intelligence business Hometrack. <br /><br />The 0.2 per cent increase in prices pushed up the average house price in England and Wales to &pound;156,700, up by &pound;300 from last month&rsquo;s average price. The rise brings the year-on-year rate of house price growth to -2.9 per cent.<br /><br />But Hometrack research director Richard Donnell says that the trend is not uniform across the country. He said: &ldquo;The stark reality is that there are large swathes of the country where prices have remained unchanged or have seen continued price falls.&rdquo;<br /><br />The price recovery was seen in only 37 per cent of the country over the past six months of the year, with London and South East England the best performing regions, the survey reveals. <br /><br />It also showed that over the past six months London and South East England have seen the largest number of postcodes registering price rises, with values up across 78 per cent of London and over half of the South East.<br /><br />In 2007, house prices in the UK were at their peak and since then have seen at least a fifth of that level lopped off. Over the last four months prices are climbing back as buyers return to the property markets.<br /><br />But Donnell expects this climb to be levelled off in the months ahead. &ldquo;The time taken to sell a home has now started to plateau, having fallen for each of the last nine months,&rdquo; he said. <br /><br />&ldquo;Further price rises could well result in an increase in the time to sell as stronger pricing meets greater resistance from would-be buyers whose numbers are also growing more slowly. The net result is likely to be less upward pressure on prices in the months ahead,&rdquo; he explained.<br /><br />Last month Hometrack&rsquo;s Donnell said the pent up demand that had boosted the market in recent months was starting to fade in the face of firmer pricing and fewer clear bargains.