Strongest monthly property price rise since 2004

All regions in England and Wales experienced a positive monthly change in their average property values, according to the latest figures from Land Registry.

The July increase of 1.7% in England and Wales is the strongest monthly growth for five years and the third month in a row with a positive movement.

The annual drop of 11.7% takes the average house price to £155,885.

The most up-to-date figures available show that during May 2009 the number of completed house sales in England and Wales fell by 34% to 42,699 from 65,023 in May 2008.

Wales experienced the greatest monthly rise with a movement of 3.1% and an average property value of £123,122.

All regions experienced a decrease in their average property values over the last 12 months. The region with the most significant annual price fall was the North East with a movement of -13.2%.

The Bedfordshire town of Luton experienced the greatest annual price fall with a drop of 22.5%.

Nicholas Leeming, director of propertyfinder.com, was pleased with the news, but called for more help for first-time buyers.

He said: “House prices are on their way up and this is a welcome boost for homeowners – particularly those blighted by negative equity. Interest from buyers is booming as people look to snap up bargains before prices rise further. But the news is not universally positive. First time buyers have been tempted by more affordable prices