Monday, May 10 2004

Annual house price inflation for the UK in March was 7.8%, down from 9.8% in February, according to figures released today from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

Prices rose during that month by a mere 0.2%, compared with the much larger figure of 2.1% for the same period last year.

Apart from Northern Ireland and the South West, all areas saw a fall in annual inflation, the largest being in Scotland – 26.2% to 22.3% – the smallest in Wales – from 21.7% to 20.5%.

However prices in the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber are still rising more than in the rest of the country, continuing the strength displayed in these areas last year which lead 2003 to be dubbed ‘the year of the north’.

These figures differ, as ever, from findings from the Nationwide and Halifax figures for March, which recorded faster continued growth in the market. This is because of the way the different systems used to calculate prices are weighted.

The ODPM is more influenced by transactions at the top end of the market, which tend to be in the south of England, and inflation with these properties tends in general to be slower meaning the results nearly always see less of a rise than the mortgage lender indices.

ODPM figures also come out later as they are based not on asking prices but on final amount paid so the results, although more historically accurate, may already be slightly out of date.