The UK's top 10 property hotspots over the last 12 months are all outside the South, with places such as Hartlepool, Darlington and Swansea topping the rises.
Hartlepool recorded the biggest price increase, up by 59 per cent, followed by Darlington at 58 per cent, Swansea at 55 per cent and Blackburn, 51 per cent.
There has been a slowdown in the South, with house price inflation in London falling to 9 per cent in quarter one from 19 per cent in the same period of 2003. The South-east saw a rise of 19 per cent, down from 26 per cent. East Anglia, the South West and West and East Midlands also saw drops in the annual rate of increase.
However, the average house in London will still set borrowers back more than twice as much as the equivalent in the North.
The average price in Yorkshire and the Humber topped the £100,000 mark in quarter one, making it the last English region to hit the landmark. Average prices are still below this in Scotland at £85,212 and in Northern Ireland at £93,692.
Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis says: “The top 10 property hotspots are all outside the South, with towns in the North-east featuring heavily among them. We expect the gap between the North and South to narrow further during the remainder of 2004.”