HOUSE prices in Essex are up, but they could fall again next year due to the financial climate.

The Office for National Statistics said its research showed the average UK house price in July stood at £231,000, up 0.5 per cent on the month before.

It found in the east of England the average house price had gone up 2.2 per cent.

Southend estate agent Mike Gray, of Dedman Gray, said recent signs had been positive, but more needed to be done.

He said: “Obviously, it’s summer holidays and we’ve had the Olympics, but the main reason is most definitely the lack of mortgages from the banking system.”

Edward Forrester, of Spicer McColl, in Colchester, said: “The Colchester market is very good at the moment, but I feel mortgage lenders need to be more lenient when it comes to first-time buyers. “This would encourage more people to buy and we may then see an increase in market figures.”