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House prices up 12.1% in a year, says ONS





House price growth picked up to 12.1% in the year to the end of September, official figures show, despite other surveys suggesting a slowdown.

The rate increased from 11.7% year-on-year growth the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said, with prices rising fastest in London.

There was an 18.8% annual rise in prices in London, the statistics show.

Publication of the data coincides with figures showing the latest increase in the cost of living.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation was up slightly, rising to 1.3% in October compared with 1.2% in September.

Different speeds
The ONS house price figures are based on mortgage-financed purchases of homes in the UK. It suggested the average home cost 272,000, with prices rising faster year-on-year than at any time since 2007.

On a monthly basis, prices were up 0.5% between August and September, the ONS said.

More recent data from the Nationwide and the Halifax, based on their own mortgage data, suggested that house price growth had slowed in the 12 months to the end of October.

Other commentators have suggested the housing market, on average, has reached a plateau. In a trading update, also published on Tuesday, estate agent Savills said it expected the UK residential property market to be subdued during the build-up to the General Election.

However, the average figures mask a picture of a housing market moving at different speeds in the different parts of the UK.

On an annual basis, prices rose by 12.5% in England, 10.9% in Northern Ireland, 7.6% in Scotland and 5.8% in Wales, the ONS said.

Regionally, the fastest rise was in London, followed by the East of England (up 13.4%), and the South East of England (up 11.6%). The slowest rise in England was in Yorkshire and the Humber (up 6%) and the North East of England (up 6.5%).

Prices paid by first-time buyers were 13.3% higher on average than in September 2013. For existing owners, prices increased by 11.5% over the same period.

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