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The UK’s housing market shed a billion pounds of its value in 2017 and flats fell out of favour among buyers, official figures have shown.

For the first time since 2011 the total value of the UK’s housing market dropped. In the year to December 2017 the market lost £1.2bn in value, falling to a total of £259bn.

The number of transactions dropped by 3.8pc in England and Wales in 2017 to 884,329. This was the lowest level since 2013, which saw 790,585.

Every type of property recorded a fall in the number of sales, apart from semi-detached houses. Transactions rose very slightly for this property type, by around 5,000.

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By contrast, transactions for flats and maisonettes dropped by 12.7pc, or close to 20,000.

The postcode-level analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed the gulf between the prices paid for homes in different areas.

Barnet has had the highest median house price for 10 of the last 22 years. The area had a median house price of £7,775,000 compared to that of County Durham and Sunderland of just £24,000.

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Houses are seen in London


Houses are seen in London


According to the ONS these Barnet properties contained luxurious features such as the services of a maid, “access to land, private cinemas and spas”. It is therefore possible that a few large transactions may have skewed the data.

However, London boasted all 41 of the postcodes in the analysis in which houses fetched a median price of £2m or over.

The capital also saw the sharpest fall in the value of house sales in the last year, compared to England and Wales, according to an index of the total market.

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The total value of the market for both England and Wales, and separately for London, was only marginally lower for the year ending in December 2017 than it was at its peak in 2007, before the recession.

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