The average price of a house in West Sussex has topped £117,000, making it one of the most expensive places in Britain to live.

That represents an 18.3 per cent price increase in only a year, according to figures released by the Land Registry today. The average house now costs £117,783. In East Sussex the figure is £101,038 while Brighton and Hove is the second-highest growth area in England and Wales for property prices.

There the average price of a house is now £101,617, a rise of 24.6 percent. Prices of four-bedroom detached houses are nudging £200,000. The Land Registry figures reveal that only Reading has seen prices increase at a faster rate, 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.

In East Sussex, prices rose by 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 prices rose by 18.3 per cent between October-December 1998 and the corresponding three months in 1999, the period in which the new figures are based.

A breakdown of booming West Sussex house prices shows:

Detached homes now sell for an average of £186,571

Semi-detached properties are now £111,746

Terraced properties will now set the buyer back about £87,925

And at the lower end of the market, flats and maisonettes now cost an average


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.

Bernard Clarke, of the Council for Mortgage Lenders, contrasted figures in the South with 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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