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property prices over the yearDuring the last few years the average house prices have risen in just two local authority areas since the UK's property boom peaked in 2007. According to the Halifax bank, the only two areas to increase were Rochford in Essex and South Lakeland in Cumbria.

However, looking at the worst-performing areas over the past five years, according to figures prepared by the Halifax, paints a very gloomy picture. In some parts of Northern Ireland – where property values boomed more than anywhere else before 2007 – prices have actually slumped by half.

The report also shows exceptions included holiday and retirement areas such as South Lakeland, the Derbyshire Dales and Ceredigion with sixteen of the top 20 best performing areas were in southern England. Please see the graph of property prices against the trend here. Data from HousePriceCrash.co.uk

Even then, the rise in property values is nothing to write home about. This is still not a fantastic result if you are a property investor as even in the areas that saw an increase, the rises were "marginal" according to the report - 1% in Rochford and just 0.1% South Lakeland.

Aberdeenshire, which has been boosted by the strength of the oil industry, is among the best 20 performing areas despite prices dropping by 7% there.Prices have fallen by just under a quarter across the UK since the peak of the property boom, to an average of £172,427.

The nine worst performing areas were all in Northern Ireland. In Craigavon prices more than halved from an average of £213,844 in 2007 to £103,383 in 2011. The report said: "Prices have fallen sharply in Northern Ireland following the remarkable - and ultimately unsustainable - gains in the few years leading up to 2007.

"Average prices in Northern Ireland were the highest in the UK outside London and the South East in 2007. Northern Ireland now has the lowest average prices of any region in the country." The district of Hart in Hampshire, previously named in a quality of life study by the Halifax as Britain's most desirable location to live, was one of the top-performing areas.

The Land Registry, the government department responsible for recording property ownership, has said that house prices in England and Wales fell by 1.3% in 2011 to an average of £160,000.  The only region where prices rose was London, where the average cost of a home went up by 2.8% to £345,000. Prices fell fastest in the north east of England where they dropped by 7.1%, bringing the regional average down to £99,000.

Original News Article from bbc.co.uk/

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