House prices up 0.2% in January

House prices in England and Wales increased by 0.2% in January compared to the previous month, Land Registry’s House Price Index shows.

This is the first time in five months the figure has been above zero, bringing the average property value in England and Wales up to £163,177.

However, it also represents an annual price decrease of 0.9%, the first negative figure seen since October 2009.

London and the East of England were the only two regions to experience a rise in average property values over the last 12 months, of 2.4% and 0.2% respectively.

The capital also saw the greatest monthly increase at 1.6%, with properties in the South-West increasing by the same amount.

At the other end of the spectrum, values in Wales fell by 4.2% in the month and 6.1% in the year.

The index also reveals the number of completed house sales in England and Wales dropped by 12% in November 2010 to 54,012, compared to 61,058 for the same month in the previous year.

Capital Economics says: “The small gain in house prices in January is unlikely to signal an end to the weakening trend in house prices.

“Indeed, if our economic forecasts are correct, the downward pressures on house prices are only set to build through 2011.”