THE North-East was the only UK region to see house prices fall last year, a report has said.
Average prices dropped by 0.1 per cent to £97,596 year-on-year, with parts of the region experiencing some of the largest drops in value across the country.
However, the figures revealed house sales increased last year as confidence begins to filter back to the housing market, with monthly deals rising to about 72,500 between July and October last year from 59,000 in 2012.
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The report, from the Land Registry, comes as York-based Persimmon Homes looks to create new jobs to cater for a strengthening order book and construction bosses say the industry will create thousands of posts in the next five years.
According to the figures, Hartlepool endured the largest annual UK price fall, with values dropping 6.6 per cent to £70,350.
Prices in County Durham also fell by 3.6 per cent year-on-year to £79,088, with values standing at £74,284 in Middlesbrough after a 2.7 per cent drop, and £106,850 following a 1.6 per cent fall in Stockton.
However, average figures in Darlington increased by 1.4 per cent to £99,398 and by 3.2 per cent in Redcar and Cleveland to £100,379.
Across the UK, property prices grew by 4.4 per cent in the 12 months to December to £167,353, with the highest growth seen in London.
Despite the overall fall in the region, charity campaigners say prices are threatening to stop people from getting a foothold in the housing market.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “However hard people work or save, many are left with no choice but to remain trapped in insecure rented homes or living in their childhood bedrooms.
“They are watching the prospect of a stable home slip further away.
“To give future generations a chance, the Government needs to roll up their sleeves and come up with bigger, bolder ideas to get more affordable homes built.”