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ONS: House prices up 11.7%

UK house prices rose by 11.7 per cent during August, with London once again witnessing the most pronounced growth.The UK-wide figure was unchanged on the year to July 2014, with rises of 12.2 per cent in England, 4.7 per cent in Wales, 6.7 per cent in Scotland and 9.6 per cent in Northern Ireland, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).In the capital, property prices surged ahead by 19.6 per cent, with the next biggest growth in the south-east (12.3 per cent) and the east (11.6 per cent).The average cost of a home in the UK now stands at £274,000. London continues to have the highest average house price, with the figure now standing at £514,000, while above-average prices were also recorded in the east and south-east.Prices for first-time buyers rose significantly and were 12.9 per cent higher on average than in August 2013, while during the same period those for owner-occupiers were 11.2 per cent higher.Howard Archer, an economist at IHS Global Insight, told the Guardian that the latest data from the ONS "conflicts with quite a lot of evidence in the latest surveys that the capital’s bubbling housing market is now cooling"."Prices do seem likely to keep rising over the coming months, with support coming from a relatively strong economy, high and rising employment, elevated consumer confidence, still relatively low interest rates and some pick-up in earnings growth in 2015," he added.Earlier this month, Halifax's latest house price index predicted a moderation in the housing market in the coming months, after growth of 2.7 per cent in the three months to September was down on the previous month's 2.9 per cent and 3.5 per cent in July.Hometrack reported zero price growth in September, while the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently reported a fall in demand for homes. 

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