House prices have increased by 1.5% across the UK in the year to October – but more than half of this improvement was due to a rise in property prices in the South East and London.

These figures from the Office for National Statistics (which trails other similar reports by a month) put the average monthly rise at 0.2%, and the average house price at £231,000.

This overall increase in house prices was also helped by a 3.1 per cent yearly rise in Yorkshire and the Humber. Prices in the North East remained unchanged, however, and those in the West Midlands saw a drop of 0.8%.

The most unwelcome figures came from Northern Ireland, where prices dropped by 11.7% and brought the average house price to £124,000. Re-adjustments following big price rises before the economic crisis began are being blamed for the decrease by some analysts. The ONS state that house prices in Northern Ireland have fallen consistently since February of 2008.

Scotland, too, saw a drop – of 2.2% compared to 12 months ago, with an average house price of £176,000.

There is also evidence to show that increases in London property prices are slowing, despite the fact that 0.7% of the 1.5% annual uptrend came from the capital. Year on year figures show a drop from 5.2% in September to 3.4% in October.

Those who are in the process of selling their property – which will include many of our unoccupied property insurance customers – will be hoping 2013 brings better news as regards house prices.