House prices are still continuing to rise, according to new government figures, although a slowdown in the growth rate has also taken place.

The House Price Index, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as a monthly experiment to make clear what is going on in the housing market, found that, although the average cost of a home rose to £159,010 from £156,273 between July and August, house price inflation has slowed down.

In July, the increase in house prices slowed to 14% from 14.6% the previous month, which some have taken as an indicator of a slowdown in the market.

Regionally, the index found, as have other recent house price surveys, that prices in the north east and north west have risen dramatically, and Northern Ireland is also looking like becoming a hotspot for coming months.

Prices in the south east and London were seen to rise, but less steeply so.

Annual house price inflation in London was also found to be 8.9% in August 2003, down from 9.4% in January of this year.

These figures are not surprising, according to experts who have welcomed the accuracy of the information, but questioned the usefulness of such knowledge, citing the delay between the transactions and the publication of the ODPM’s figures.

A spokesman for the ODPM said that the figures are currently being produced on an ‘experimental basis.’