House prices fall in North East

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HOUSE prices have shown a modest rise on a year ago around the country, according to the latest figures.

However, the North East bucked the trend with a five per cent fall.

The increases in England were driven by London, which saw the biggest rise at 1.7 per cent, and the south generally.

First-time buyers face much steeper increases than existing owners.

The typical house price was £224,473 in February, a 0.3 per cent year-on-year rise, the Office for National Statistics said.

Prices paid by first-time buyers were typically £166,916, 1.3 per cent higher than in February 2011, but those paid by existing owners remained flat at just under £260,000.

Analysts suggested the typical price increase for first-time buyers was due to the ending of a two-year stamp duty holiday.