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House transactions slip to 44,000 a month, says Land Registry


 House prices slipped by 0.4% in May compared with April – but were largely held up by the continuing boom in London.

The average house price in England and Wales now stands at £161,823, according to the latest Land Registry figures.

In Wales, house prices fell harder month on month, with a 3.5% decrease. In London, the South East and parts of the Midlands, there were small monthly rises, but it is the yearly changes that are most marked.

Overall, house prices are down 2.2% over the year, the largest annual decrease since October 2009. But in London they are up by 2.9%. It is the only region where there has been an annual increase.

In the North-East, annual house prices are down by 6.9%, in Wales by 5.6% and in the North-West by 4.9%. Even in the relatively buoyant South-East outside London, house prices have taken a yearly tumble of 2.1%.

Sales volumes reported by the Land Registry make dispiriting reading, although they are not up to date. For the three months from December 2010 to March, the monthly transaction figure was 44,314 – a drop from the average of 52,060 per month for the same period a month earlier.

London agent Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, said: “London continues to buck the trend of a rather gloomy national property market. In prime parts of the capital, buyers are a healthy mixture of cash investors and those with hefty deposits – immune to the ongoing mortgage drought.“As a result, competition for each home has climbed to a level not seen since 2007. With stock on the market still limited, prime prices keep climbing.”

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