House prices: Data reveals 'two-speed' property market

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The gulf in house prices across the UK has widened significantly, new data reveals.

According to the Office for National Statistics, valuations in England rose by 8.6 per cent in the year to the end of January. In contrast, prices rose by just 0.1 per cent in the same period in Scotland, while in Northern Ireland, the increase was 0.8 per cent. In Wales, meanwhile, valuations fell by 0.3 per cent.

Speaking to the BBC, Mark Posniak, the managing director at Dragonfly Property Finance, said that though England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are "geographical neighbours", they could be "thousands of miles apart in terms of house prices".

There were also stark differences within England itself. While the overall increase was 8.6 per cent, this dropped to 5.1 per cent when London and the south-east were excluded.

The Guardian notes that the figures show London valuations increased by almost £500 a day in January, during which the average price reached a record £551,000. This was £15,000 up on December's figure of £536,000 and translates into an increase of £484 a day.

"London will remain a formidable bastion of the UK's property market but for many, its prices are an insurmountable obstacle," added Posniak. "With interest rates unlikely to rise this year and the employment market as strong as it is, demand will remain."