Reading that headline house price rise figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would make you think that the housing market was surging ahead.

But the figures are totally skewed by the London housing market that saw prices shoot up 6% year on year to April and, as prices in the capital are already nearly twice the price as elsewhere, that 6% has an even greater effect.

Wales though saw the biggest increase of 6.2% to £162,000.

The UK average is now £238,000.

But bear in mind that the Consumer Price Index showed an inflation rate of 2.4% in the year to April according to the ONS. So house prices on that score only just kept ahead. House prices did a little better when compared to the new CPIH of 2.2% over the same period, which includes owner occupiers' housing costs. The old system Retail Price Index rose by 2.9% in the year to April so pulling ahead of house prices.

Although London does distort the figures most areas showed house price rises except for the North East (-1.3%), Northern Ireland (-0.8%) and Scotland (-1.2%).

The areas where prices kept ahead of CPIH were London (6%), West Midlands (2.4%), East Midlands (3.6%), Wales (6.2%) and England as a whole (2.8%).

The West Midlands kept pace with CPIH with 2.4%.

The South West (1.8%), South East (2.2%), East (0.9%), Yorks & the Humber (1.1%), North West (0.5%), North East (-1.3%), Northern Ireland (-0.8%) and Scotland (-1.2%) all failed to keep pace with inflation including housing costs.

Andy Knee, Chief Executive of LMS, commented:

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Despite the fact that house prices across the UK are remaining reasonably stable, the 6% rise witnessed in the capital has seriously affected the overall average. Therefore, the 2.6% year-on-year increase announced this morning does not accurately represent what is happening in the market as a whole.

The primary issue for most, especially first time buyers, is sourcing the deposit. The introduction of the government’s Help to Buy scheme will undoubtedly instigate a rush of activity, so if you have the means, or particularly generous family members, it would be advisable to get in now.”

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