After 2012 falls, will house prices pick up?

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Homeowners in Hemel Hempstead lost thousands of pounds worth of value on their properties during 2012, according to latest figures.

Data gathered by the Halifax finance giant show average house prices in the town dropped by £5,851 during the course of the year from £231,796 to £225,945.

Other towns in the south east benefited from their proximity to London, including St Albans, which recorded one of the biggest percentage increases.

The figures are based on the Halifax’s own customers and Martin Ellis, the bank’s housing economist, said conditions in the market have shown ‘little overall movement’ in the past two years.

Mr Ellis said: “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.

“House prices are expected to be strongest in London and the south east as this part of the country performs best in economic terms.”

Chartered surveyors’ group RICS, which has members in Dacorum, is forecasting ‘modest’ house price rises in the south east this year. Across the country, it forecasts an average increase of two per cent in house prices and around four per cent increases in rents.

RICS is also predicting a rise in the number of housing transactions although it is also forecasting a continuation of the “recent trend in repossessions”.