Growing North-South split shown in latest property-price figures

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HOUSE prices are soaring in London at a much faster rate than the rest of the country, according to the latest official figures which reveal the extent of the North/South divide in property values.

The average price of a house in London increased by 10 per cent year-on-year in November compared with a nationwide increase of 3.2 per cent.

Figures from the Land Registry show that in Yorkshire there was a 1.6 per cent increase over the year. Only the East Midlands and the North-West saw smaller increases while in the North-East prices actually fell by 1.6 per cent.

However, the monthly increase of property prices in Yorkshire was 0.7 per cent which was well above the national average.

The average property price in Yorkshire was £117,424, compared to a national average of £165,411 and a London average of £396,646.

Elsewhere in the North, the average prices were even lower: £109,602 in the North West and £96,227 in the North-East.

This contrasts with £174,734 in the South West and £216,618 in the South East.

Hull had the lowest average property price in the region at £69,384 while York had the highest at £182,698.

Nationally only Stoke had a lower average figure than Hull.

The upturn in the housing market is said to have boosted consumer confidence, but there have also been fears that people are being encouraged to stretch themselves too far financially to meet rising prices.

The chief executive of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, Mark Harris, said: “With funding more readily available than at any time in the past five years, many buyers are finally able to realise their property-ownership dream.

“This surge in demand is pushing up prices, particularly in London, where supply is already limited.”

Across England and Wales, prices rose by 0.1 per cent month-on-month in November, but the nationwide figures masked the continued patchy state of the market.

The North-East was the only region to see prices drop year-on-year, with the typical house price in the region now standing at £96,227. On average, a property in the North-East is now worth less than one quarter of one in London.

London also saw the biggest monthly price rise, with an 1.8 per cent increase. The capital has had a particular pull for wealthy overseas investors looking for a safe haven to place their cash. There have also been signs of “gazumping” – which happens when a buyer thinks they have agreed a deal to buy a house only for someone else to step in and outbid them – being back on the increase in the capital.

The South-East saw the second largest annual jump in house prices, with a 3.5 per cent increase taking typical values to £216,618.

Meanwhile, Wales recorded a 3.3 per cent annual increase in house prices, pushing them to £118,310 on average.

The East saw the most significant monthly price fall with a 0.7 per cent drop taking average prices to £177,975.

The Land Registry’s latest figures also showed how house sales have been much stronger than in the same period last year.

The most up-to-date figures available show that during September 2013, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales increased by 24 per cent to 65,378 compared with 52,870 in September 2012.

The housing market has consistently shown a strong pick-up throughout 2013 following the introduction of Government schemes such as Help to Buy, which have given mortgage borrowers with small deposits a helping hand on or up the housing ladder.