HOUSE prices in Blackburn with Darwen decreased by 2.7% in March, despite witnessing a 5.8% rise over the last 12 months.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the average property in the area sold for £109,816 - significantly lower than the UK average of £224,144.

Across the North West, property prices have risen by 5.2% in the last year, to £157,461. The region outperformed the UK as whole, which saw the average property value increase by 4.2%.

The data comes from the House Price Index, which the ONS compiles using house sale information from the Land Registry, and the equivalent bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Blackburn with Darwen is the 18th-cheapest local authority in the UK in which to buy a home, and the average homeowner will have seen their property jump in value by around £14,000 in the last five years.

The figures also showed that buyers who made their first step onto the property ladder in Blackburn with Darwen in March spent an average of £97,834 - around £13,000 more than it would have cost them five years ago.

Addressing the national picture, Lawrence Bowles, the associate director of the research team at the estate agents Savills said: "The growth across the UK is as we would expect.

"Things do seem to be slowing down. That matches what we are seeing in the housing market, with fewer properties being marketed.

"All the uncertainty going around with Brexit, the rate change from the Bank of England, and the political uncertainty are having an effect.

"We are seeing a ripple effect continue, with the West Midlands the fastest growing area. We will see the strongest price growth moving towards the North West.

"It doesn't mean things are completely dead in London - but prices there are struggling, and affordability is stretched to its limit. But long-term, London tends to outperform the rest of the country."

Between February last year and January this year, the most recent 12 months for which sales volume data is available, 1,808 homes were sold in Blackburn with Darwen, 3% more than in the previous year.

The highest house prices in the country in March were found in Kensington and Chelsea, where properties sold for an average of £1,343,582 - 17 times the cost of a home in Burnley, where the average home cost just £78,052.