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Hometrack August +0.10%

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House prices rise 'but no recovery'


House prices edged ahead by 0.1% during August as the market continued to be supported by a shortage of homes for sale, research has showed.

The increase in England and Wales was the first recorded by property intelligence group Hometrack since July 2007, and followed three consecutive months in which prices had remained unchanged.

But the group warned that the rise did not signal a recovery in the wider housing market, instead saying the figure had been distorted by price increases in a limited number of areas where supply shortages were most acute.

The annual rate at which prices are declining continued to moderate during August, dropping to 6.7%.

Richard Donnell, Hometrack's director of research, said: "Taken at face value these headline results provide further support to talk of the green shoots of recovery.

"They suggest that after seven consecutive months of rising demand, agents and surveyors now believe that prices can be pushed upwards without any detrimental impact on sales volumes.

"But dig beneath the headlines and the reality is quite different. The results of the survey show that far from a national housing market on the up, the headline figures are being skewed by price rises that are restricted to relatively small pockets of the market suffering from a lack of housing for sale - primarily London and the South East."

The group said price rises were seen in only 11% of postcode districts across England and Wales, with London and the South East accounting for three-quarters of these areas, while prices remained static in the remaining 89% of the country.

London, the South East and East Anglia were also the only regions of the country to see price rises during the month, with London reporting the biggest gain of 0.3%.

There was a 1.4% rise in potential buyers registering with estate agents across England and Wales during August, but only a 0.8% lift in the number of properties they had on their books.

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