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Flats 'show highest rise in prices'

Britain's flats have increased their value more than any other property type over the last decade with a typical rise of £394 per month, a study has found.

Terraced houses are the second best performers, while detached homes have seen the smallest percentage increase in their prices over the last 10 years, according to Halifax.

Using its own database, Halifax said that flat prices have risen by more than one third (35%) on average since 2003, putting them ahead of terraced homes which have seen a 32% increase over the same period.

Flats are now worth almost £47,500 more than they were a decade ago, with a typical price tag of £180,799. Halifax put much of the rise down to the strength of the London market, which has a high proportion of flats.

Flats in Scotland have seen the biggest percentage increase in value of anywhere in Britain over the last decade, with a 57% upturn. London flats have increased their value at the second fastest rate over last 10 years, recording a 37% rise. But at more than £286,000, the average price of a flat in London is more than double that of a flat in Scotland at around £121,000.

Flats and terraced homes tend to be particularly popular with first-time buyers, who have recently returned to their market in their strongest numbers since the economic downturn following the launch of a string of Government measures to improve mortgage availability such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy.

Property search website Rightmove reported last month that asking prices for flats had reached an all-time high, which it put down to growing demand from first-time buyers coupled with high numbers of buy-to-let investors looking for decent returns as the rental market remains strong.

In Wales, terraced homes have increased their value faster than any other property type, recording a 55% rise over the last decade. The West Midlands and the South East were the only regions where flats or terraces were not the best-performing property types.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "During the recovery since 2009 larger property types such as detached homes, semis and bungalows have under-performed flats and terraces.

"The demand for such properties has been partly constrained by a widespread lack of equity amongst home owners who bought for the first time around the peak in the market."

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