House prices drop despite capital gains

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House prices fell in nearly 80 per cent of postcodes across England and Wales over this year, but the strength of the London market boosted by demand from overseas buyers prevented the overall decline from being even worse, property analyst Hometrack has said.

Average prices declined by 2.1 per cent overall, but in some of the most desirable areas of London they went up by as much as 5 per cent over 2011, recording an average increase of 1 per cent across the capital.

Some 78 per cent of postcodes across England and Wales registered house price falls over 2011, but prices have gone up across 43 per cent of London areas during the same period, with the main hotspots concentrated in central and west London.

The study did not list the areas which have experienced the worst declines over the year.

Despite the more positive outlook for London, Hometrack expects prices to fall by another 3 per cent across England and Wales by December 2012, and rents to rise by 2 per cent as buyers who cannot get onto the property ladder remain trapped in the booming rental sector.

n Homes bought by first-time buyers have reached their most affordable levels since 2003 – but their numbers have hit a record low with a typical deposit of nearly £30,000, Halifax has found.

Houses bought by first-time buyers in November were found to be priced at “affordable” levels in 44 per cent of local authority districts in the UK, the highest proportion for eight years, the First-Time Buyer Review found.