House price gains spreading beyond London-Hometrack

LONDON, March 3 Sun Mar 2, 2014 7:01pm EST

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LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - House prices rose in February in more regions of England and Wales than at any time in nearly 10 years, a survey showed on Monday, a signal the housing market recovery is spreading beyond London and the southeast.

Asking prices for houses in England and Wales rose 0.7 percent in February, the strongest month-on-month growth since April 2007, compared with 0.3 percent in January, according to a survey of estate agents and surveyors by data firm Hometrack.

The report also showed the greatest number of areas with rising asking prices for houses since July 2004. Slightly more than half of postcode districts recorded higher property prices.

The Bank of England has said it is watching the housing market closely. Most officials have played down suggestions that it could be overheating and have said many areas of Britain are far from the double-digit price growth seen in London.

"The continued imbalance between supply and demand indicates we can expect further upward pressure on prices in the months ahead," said Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, a property analytics company.

Mortgage lender Nationwide last week reported a slowdown in the month-on-month growth rate of house prices across Britain, but on an annual basis they recorded their biggest annual rise in nearly four years.

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