Business

House prices: Midlands sees biggest rises

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The Midlands saw the fastest growth in house prices over the year to the end of November, official figures show.

Property values grew by 7.2% in the West Midlands and 6.4% in the East Midlands, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

London saw the slowest growth (2.3%) among the English regions.

Separate figures suggested that demand for mortgages had been relatively unaffected by November's rise in interest rates.

The official bank rate was raised from 0.25% to 0.5%, the first increase since July 2007.

The ONS data showed that the typical home cost £226,000. House prices in the UK increased by 5.1% during the year to the end of November, although this fails to show the wide regional and national variations.

Prices increased by 5.3% in England, compared with a 4.5% rise in Wales, a 3.6% increase in Scotland, and a 6% rise in Northern Ireland over the same period.

Rent paid by tenants to private landlords in Britain rose by 1.2% in the year to December, the ONS also said.

Mortgage data published by UK Finance, which represents the major banks, show that 34,800 mortgages were advanced to first-time buyers in November, a rise of 15% on the same month a year earlier.

The average first-time buyer was aged 30 and had an income of £40,000, it said.

There were 36,200 mortgages advanced to existing homeowners in November, a rise of nearly 17% on the same month a year earlier.

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