THE North-East is the cheapest place in the UK to buy a house, a survey has revealed.

A report says average property values across the North increased by 5.9 per cent to £119,702, making the region the weakest for price growth.

Sunderland has the lowest values, with prices rising by just one per cent to £139,772.

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The report said London prices leapt the highest, increasing by 18.2 per cent annually, widening the gap between property values in the capital and the rest of the UK to record levels.

The results, revealed by Nationwide building society, added UK prices lifted by 9.5 per cent year-on-year.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: “The gap between house prices in London and the rest of the UK is the widest its ever been, both in cash and percentage terms.

“House prices in London and outer South-East have now surpassed pre-crisis peaks.”

The results were released as a report said the construction industry was continuing to grow, boosted by housebuilding, with more jobs being created.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index hit 62.5 in March, slightly down from January's 64.6 six-and-a-half year, but above the 50 mark that signals growth.

Tim Moore, Markit senior economist, said: “House building reclaimed its place as the main driving force behind the resurgent UK construction sector, with the rise in residential construction one of the sharpest over the past ten years.

“Expectations have now reached their highest since the start of 2007 and a strong pipeline of work is fuelling job creation.”