The average price of a house in Brighton and Hove has topped £100,000 for the first time.

Figures out today show the towns are the second-highest growth area in England and Wales for property price rises. The average price of a house is now £101,617, a rise of 24.6 percent in a year. Prices of four-bedroom detached houses are nudging £200,000.

Figures from the Land Registry released today reveal that only Reading has seen prices rise faster, with an average increase of 26.8 per cent. The national average was 15.3 per cent. The registry provides the most accurate record of house price trends as they are based on the actual sales, not building societies' or estate agents' estimates.

East and West Sussex have also seen big price rises. The average house in East Sussex costs £101,038, and West Sussex £117, 783, making it one of the most expensive places to live in Britain.

East Sussex has seen an average price rise of 15.92 per cent - only just above the national average, partly because of the large number of cheaper properties in the Hastings area.

In West Sussex there was an 18.3 per cent rise between October-December 1998 and the corresponding three months in 1999, the period in which the new figures are based.

A breakdown of booming Brighton and Hove house prices shows that:

Four-bedroom homes have increased in value from £159, 915 to £196,264

Semi-detached proper-ties have rocketed from £99,494 to £126,568

Terraced houses have risen in value from £93,309 to £117, 627.

Flats and maisonettes have gone up from £57,895 to £76,890.

In East Sussex the corresponding prices are £163,437 for a detached home, £94,725 for a semi, £77,737 for a terraced property and £49,346 for a flat or maisonette.

The average price of a detached house in West Sussex is now £186,571, a semi £111,746, terraced £87,925, and flat £63,522.

Bernard Clarke of the Council for Mortgage Lenders said the Brighton and Hove figures were in sharp contrast to areas such as Middlesborough, where prices have dropped to an average of £48,000.

He said: "This is not a story of a consistently booming market but a range of very different experiences across the country."

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