House prices rise for the first time in 18 months

Land Registry say the decline is slowing, but for some areas the worst is yet to come

The average prices of homes in England and Wales has risen by 0.1 per cent, the first positive monthly change since January 2008.

The latest figures published by the Land Registry compare the price for which houses were bought with the price they have been sold for.

The annual rate of decline is now slowing month-on-month, with the current 14 per cent a marked improvement on the 15.9 per cent seen in May and the 16.2 per cent in April, with the average house price now standing at £153,000.

It was a particularly marked increase for those in the London area, who saw a rise of 2 per cent to an average price of £301,859 - the greatest nationwide.

This government release may help clarify the housing situation for home owners. Earlier this month, they were told by Halifax that prices had slipped 0.5 per cent, but that they had risen by 0.9 per cent by Nationwide.

Despite the overall improvement, many properties in the South are faring better than those in the North and Wales, where the plummet continues. Yorkshire and Humber fell by 1.2 per cent and the East Midlands by 1.1 per cent, a worrying sign that the north-south divide in the property market may re-emerge.

An independent report by property information specialist Hometrack found that prices overall remained flat in June, with the majority of the increases coming from postcodes in London and the South.

Housing sales are positive as well, with completed house sales rising from 34,690 in June to 36,233 in July. Even with that improvement, the sales figures are still 42 per cent less than they were at that time last year.

The Land Registry was also quick to add that "the monthly increase of 0.1 per cent does not signal a return to solid growth, but rather flattening prices."