House prices still falling yet London defies trend

HOUSE prices in England and Wales fell for the fourth consecutive month in December, yet in London prices ticked up sharply, official data showed yesterday.

Overall house prices dropped by 0.2 per cent compared to November, yet in London month-on-month prices were up by one per cent, and 6.2 per cent higher than in December 2009.

The average house price in London now stands at £342,325, the Land Registry said, compared to an average of £163,814 across England and Wales -- down 1.9 per cent (£3,219) from a peak of £167,033 in August.

In its most recent data on the number of sales, the Land Registry reported that 55,964 properties were sold in October.

Today the Bank of England will release figures on the number of mortgage approvals made in December – expected to slip to 45,000, which would be a 20-month low. “Housing activity remains in the doldrums,” said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.