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Housing recovery 'spreading beyond London'

The housing market recovery has begun to spread outside London, with prices rising in more parts of England and Wales outside the capital than at any time during the past decade.This is according to Hometrack's monthly national housing market survey for April, which reveals that 48 per cent of postcodes registered higher prices during the month - three times higher than the level one year ago.Moreover, there are "early signs of growing price resistance" in the capital, following recent rises in London residential prices. Hometrack says this could check the rate of house price appreciation in the months ahead.Several trends support this possibility: the time on the market has risen from 2.7 to 3.4 weeks, the proportion of markets registering price gains each month is starting to soften and the proportion of the asking price achieved declined from 99.3 per cent to 99 per cent.Overall, house prices increased by 0.6 per cent during April, while lower value markets mean London's prices grew by 0.8 per cent.The gap between supply and demand remained pronounced, with the former growing by 1.9 per cent and the latter increasing by 3.3 per cent. This trend has now been observed for the past six months.Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said: "Demand continues to grow faster than supply, maintaining the supply/demand imbalance that underpins the upward pressure on house prices. "London continues to register above average growth but market conditions continue to strengthen in the regions outside London, particularly southern England."According to Hometrack, increased activity is being supported by improving market sentiment and low mortgage rates. A strong indication of the overall health of the market is given by the 'time on the market' statistic, and this has now fallen to less than ten weeks across all regions, reaching an average of 6.3 weeks.The outlook for the medium term depends upon the health of the economy and interest rate levels, along with the willingness and ability of households to take on mortgage debt. 

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