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The average property price rose 3.1% in the 12 months to September led by a leap of 8.7% in London, while repossessions have dropped sharply.

The number of completed house sales in England and Wales rose 17% to 69,140 in July, up from 59,141 one year earlier, according to Land Registry figures published yesterday.

Prices rose 1.5% in September alone to lift the average property value in England and Wales to £167,063. In London, the average property now costs £370,720.

The figures did show prices dipping 0.2% in October, but Jonathan Hopper, managing director, Garrington Property Finders, said this gave a misleading impression.

"The drop in average house prices is due to transactional lag with properties sold during the summer completing in October and November.

"On the ground, the picture is a much more positive one. 

"It's unseasonably busy. Agents are seeing a significant pick up in activity with many financially-qualified buyers keen to purchase.

"Of course, London remains the star performer with price roaring ahead and many agents having to arrange block viewings to deal with the demand.

"But the rest of the country is not in the doldrums by any means."

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services said: “The recovery may as well have planted a flag, with annual house price growth on such a tremendous scale. Buyers are returning to the market on a sweeping tide of mortgage lending.

“But clambering out the crater of the last half decade is only the first step. We’re not home and dry yet – as we still face a host of long-term challenges for the housing market. 

“General inflation is a little more under control now, so when wages start to play their part we could see a real improvement in the affordability of property. 

"But most importantly, there still aren’t enough homes to go around, and that will take some time to change.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said the figures suggest the housing market resurgence is underway across the whole of the UK.

"While this is obviously good news for some, momentum is building far quicker in London and the South East than in other parts of the country.

"As the market recovers, we face the prospect of potential interest rate rises in the short to mid-term. With that in mind now may feel like the right time for many consumers to look at remortgage options."

Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, said: “Despite a slight monthly dip as the market cools down for winter, there has been a significant improvement in house prices nationwide in the past year.

"Compared to the difficult lending conditions a year ago, the property market today is almost unrecognisable. Record low interest rates have sent ripples of fluidity throughout the market and unleashed a barrage of first-time buyers."

London prices continue to speed ahead in a different gear. ""There are currently 18 registered buyers per property, fuelling sales to take place in record time and for close to the asking price.”


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