Whilst property prices in England and Wales rose by a modest 1%, the town in Essex saw prices rise by a whopping 14.8% over the past 12 months. The average house price in Southend is now £198,418 according to the Halifax, nearly £40,000 above the national average.
The figures from the Halifax confirm what many housing experts have been saying for some time, that the majority of house prices rises are occurring in the South East of England, whilst other areas are experiencing reductions. The next largest house prices increases were in Basingstoke, Rochester, St Albans, and Dartford.
Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at the Halifax, said: “Nationally, conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year.”
Ellis continued: “This picture, however, conceals considerable local differences. A number of towns and cities have recorded significant changes in house prices over the past 12 months.”
“Several towns within easy commuting distance of the capital feature in the list of top performers, whilst the majority of towns that have fared worst in house price terms are outside southern England, where economic conditions have generally been less favourable,”
Worst performing areas
Whilst many areas in the South of England performed above average, house prices in many other areas of the country have struggled to even break even during 2012.
Craigavon in County Armagh was the worst performing area, with house prices falling by 18.4%, other areas in the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland also performed below the national average.
The Halifax’s figures, which are based on its own mortgage lending, have been disputed by some sources.
The Land Registry, whose figures are based on all property sales in England and Wales, indicate that house prices in Southend rose by just 2.4% in the 12 months to October.
Whichever figures are correct, it is clear that a North-South divide persists, with the South of the country experiencing, at least in some parts, increasing property prices, whilst the North is tending to fare less well.