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Six regions hit new house price peak, says ONS



Houses House prices have risen in every area of the UK over the past year, the ONS says

Six regions of the UK now have average house prices higher than their pre-financial crisis peak after values rose again in July, figures show.

The East Midlands, West Midlands and South West of England have joined London, the East of England and the South East of England in rising above the peak of late 2007 and early 2008.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said UK property prices were up 11.7% in the year to the end of July.

The biggest rise was 19.1% in London.

The figures were published as the ONS also revealed that inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, had slowed slightly to 1.5% in August from 1.6% the month before.

The ONS said that house prices in July rose by at least three times more than the inflation rate in August in every area of the UK.

Average house prices:

Source: ONS

Rising or plateau?

The annual rise in prices accelerated from June, when prices were up by 10.2%.

The increase in the year to the end of July was driven by prices in England - up 12% - and more specifically in London, the South East of England (up 12.2%) and the East of England (10.6%).

The slowest growth in property prices was in Northern Ireland, up 4.5%, and Yorkshire and the Humber, up 5%.

The data from the ONS lags behind some other house price surveys. Figures from the Halifax, based on its own lending data, suggested a slight slowdown in August, but the opposite was reported by its rival, the Nationwide.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently suggested that the housing market reached a plateau in August, with prices softening in London as flats and houses had become more unaffordable.

The ONS said that average property prices in London had now risen above 500,000, compared with 272,000 in UK as a whole.

Housing charity Shelter said that such figures meant that parents helping their children to get onto the property ladder gave them an average of 23,000 towards the deposit.

One in four of them had to cut back on their own day-to-day spending as a result, the charity said.

"This shocking rise in house prices leaves even more people priced out of a stable home. The dream of their own home is slipping so far out of reach for young people and families across the country," said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

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