New figures from the Land Registry show house prices have continued to rise, but at a far slower rate than suggested by other surveys.
The Land Registry figures, based on house sales and generally accepted to be the most accurate measure of house prices in England and Wales, show that house prices rose by 1.1% in December and were 4.4% higher than a year ago.
The figures differ significantly from the two other major house price surveys produced by the Halifax and Nationwide, which showed a fall of 0.6% and an increase of 1.4% respectively in December.
However, the year on year figures show an even larger gap, with the Halifax reporting a rise of 7.5% and the Nationwide 8.8%; significantly higher than the 4.4% increase announced by the Land Registry.
According to the Land Registry the average home in England and Wales is now worth £167,353, up from £165,411 in the previous month, but significantly below the figures given by the Nationwide and Halifax.
The price rises reported by the Nationwide and Halifax have been used by many housing experts, and indeed some politicians, as evidence of another housing ‘bubble’, which could in turn could lead to another house price crash.
The Land Registry figures may help to dampen this speculation. Whilst other experts believe much of the increase in prices is driven by the London market, which saw a rise of 11.2% over the 12 months to December, when other regions saw significantly lower growth, and the North East experienced a slight drop in prices.