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  1. ITV Report

House price high

The seaside town of Southend. Photo: ITV Anglia

The seaside town of Southend is ending 2012 on a high.

The Essex town has recorded the biggest rise in house prices among major British towns and cities over the past year.

Research by the Halifax shows the average selling price there is more than £198,000 - which is nearly 15% on last year.

That's compared with a 1% average fall across the UK as a whole.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the research also discovered that Cambridge has the most expensive houses across East Anglia.

A Cambridge estate agent Credit: ITV Anglia

Nationally, conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year.

This picture, however, conceals considerable local differences. A number of towns and cities have recorded significant changes in house prices over the past 12 months.

Several towns within easy commuting distance of the capital feature in the list of top performers, whilst the majority of towns that have fared worst in house price terms are outside southern England, where economic conditions have generally been less favourable.

– Martin Ellis, Halifax