The price gap between the north and the south of Britain may soon be a thing of the past as the property market has made a leap in the less expensive parts of the country, suggests a survey by Halifax.
That said, the gap between the most expensive and inexpensive area is still three and half times wide, the lender says.
Latest figures by Halifax says it is possible to buy more than three and a half properties at the average price in County Tyrone (£93,493) in Northern Ireland for the price of one average property in Surrey (£339,772), which is currently the most expensive county in the UK.
This is still much less than compared to a year ago before prices in the cheaper ares began to rise. Looking over the past year, many parts of Wales experienced large price rises with two of its counties making the biggest leaps.
Overall, the biggest price gains during the last 12 months could all be seen outside southern England.
Smaller gains were, on the other hand, recorded in the southern parts of the country mirroring the widespread slowdown seen in those parts over the past year.
Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist, says:
"The north/south house price divide is clearly reflected at a county level. The most expensive counties overwhelmingly remain in the south of England, but it has been the counties in northern England and in Wales that have seen the biggest house price gains over the past year. This has helped to narrow the north/south divide during the last 12 months.
Much of the recent regional pattern, in general, and the out-performance of the north, in particular, can be explained by the fact that prices in the north have started from a much lower base level, which has permitted a sharper rise in these areas.
We expect the trend of stronger price rises outside southern England to continue during the remainder of 2004, but prices are likely to rise at a slower pace than they have in many counties in these regions over the last year as higher interest rates and the increasing difficulties faced by potential first-time buyers in getting onto the housing ladder begin to bite. This will cause national house price inflation to ease," he adds.IFAonline
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