House prices in England and Wales have seen the fastest rise in more than two years, the Land Registry has said.
Throughout 2012, house prices have shown tentative signs of growth with annual figures seeing an increase of 1.7%, which takes the average property price in England and Wales to £162,080.
One of the most significant increases was between November and December, experiencing a rise of 0.8%.
The numbers go in contrast to two of the most widely recognised devices for measuring house prices across the UK. Earlier in January, Halifax claimed that house prices had infact fallen by 0.3%, while the study from Nationwide released figures showing a more substantial 1% reduction in house prices.
However, both Halifax and Nationwide gain their information from their own approved mortgage rates, using these numbers to make an estimation of a national whole. The Land Registry use data received from actual sales across England and Wales, which may be more accurate for those regions.
More good news within the housing sector is that the number of house repossessions has also fallen in line with the slight increase in prices. The Land Registry announced that a national reduction of 16% had been recorded. The highest regional change was in the North East of England, where repossessions fell by 35%.
Regional factors however are worth considering, for although the average house price has increased, there are large regional discrepancies influencing the numbers.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said:
"The national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outperform the rest,"
The data from the Land Registry reveals that London experienced an increase of 8.4%, in contrast, a decrease of 3.5% was recorded in the North West of England.
Market observers warn that this is a pattern that looks set to continue into 2013.