The government has released its UK House Price Index for May 2006, showing that inflation in the UK property market rose to 5.6 per cent from 5.1 per cent in April.

Wales was the only country in the UK to see a fall in inflation in May, to 5.1 per cent from the level of 6.6 per cent the previous month.

England saw a rise from 4.7 per cent in April to 5.2 per cent in May, the level in Scotland increased from 7.6 to 9.3 per cent and in Northern Ireland a jump from 15.8 to 16.9 per cent was noted.

Prices of houses in the UK increased by 0.9 per cent between April and May, compared to the 0.5 per cent rise that was measured in the same period of 2005.

Bungalows saw the largest upward change in prices, of 1.8 per cent, followed by flats at 1.5 per cent and detached houses at 1.4 per cent.

Overall average house prices were measured as £198,400 in England, £152,752 in Wales, £146,217 in Northern Ireland and £136,553 in Scotland.

For first-time buyers, the average price paid for UK property was £147,868 in May, while for former owner occupiers the typical amount paid was £208,045.

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    Carol McDonald