Date Published 04 July 2012

House prices crept up in May by 0.5% to stand at an average of £161,677 in England and Wales, according to the Land Registry, which says prices were 0.4% up on May last year.

However, the rise has been boosted by London figures. House prices in London rose 2.6% in May over April, and 7.7% over the year, to stand at an average of £365,359.

By contrast, house prices in every other region apart from the South-East are down year on year. The biggest falls are in Yorkshire & The Humber (down 3.9%) and the North-East (down 3.5%). In some places, the falls are even more marked: down 10.5% over the year in north-east Lincolnshire and in Barnsley by 8.4%.

House price rises in the South-East outside London are far more modest than in the capital at 0.5% monthly and 1.7% annually.

The Land Registry also reported a rise in monthly transactions between December 2011 and March this year – the latest period for which it has data. The average monthly sales figure was 52,316 compared with 45,230 for the same period a year earlier.

However, the improved figure of 52,316 was given a huge boost by March's sales of 58,609 (compared with 46,572 in March last year), when first-time buyers were coming to the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.