FOUR out of ten of the towns that have seen the biggest falls in property values over the past year are in Scotland, according to a new survey.
Wishaw, Hamilton, Ayr and Inverness are among the places in the UK that have experienced the biggest falls in the average prices paid for property.
The survey of average prices shows a strong north/south divide, with most of the towns that have seen prices increase in London and the South-East.
According to the Halifax Town House Price Survey of the UK, the place where prices have fallen most in Scotland is Wishaw in Lanarkshire.
A year ago, the average house price in Wishaw was £99,916 while a year later the average price was £87,410 – a fall of 12.5 per cent.
Hamilton, Ayr and Inverness were sixth, seventh and eighth in the list of places where the average selling price fell furthest.
A year ago, a house in Hamilton cost an average of £105,851 whereas in 2012 it was £96,478, a fall of 9.3 per cent.
In Ayr, average prices fell from £126,761 a year ago to £116,352 this year – down 8.2 per cent. In Inverness, the average selling price of a home fell from £171,178 a year ago to £157,679 by the end of this year.
According to the national register of average house prices, most of the places which saw prices rise were in the South-East of England.
Southend-on-Sea saw the biggest rise in average prices – from £172,782 a year ago to £198,418. Basingstoke, Rochester, St Albans and Dartford also saw prices rise by 13 per cent or more.
The only place in the north which saw prices rise was Durham, where prices went from £118,874 a year ago to 133,878 in 2012, an increase of 12.6 per cent.
Most of the English towns which saw falls in prices were also in the north of the country, with Chorley, Carlisle and the Wirral suffering slides of more than 9 per cent.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “Nationally, conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months. This picture, however, conceals considerable local differences.
“A number of towns and cities have recorded significant changes in house prices over the past 12 months. Several towns within easy commuting distance of London feature in the list of top performers, while the majority of towns that have fared worst in house price terms are outside southern England. We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013. The generalised north/south divide in house price performance seen during 2012 is likely to continue next year.”
A report this week from Hometrack showed the average price of a home in the UK dropped by 0.3 per cent this year – compared to a 2.3 per cent fall in 2011.
Estate agents say sales are still subtantially down from where they were at the peak of the housing boom – and are calling on lenders to make it easier for people to obtain mortgages.
Michael Luck, managing director of Slater Hogg & Howison said: “I think house prices will remain stable during 2013, and, like this year, there will be winners and losers in the housing market. I expect the next 12 months will bring more of the same. There’s nothing to suggest there will be widespread increases in property values.”