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London and South East in homes boost

HOUSE prices increased by 0.2 per cent in September, according to a survey published today. <br /><br />The survey, by the housing intelligence business Hometrack, records only the second monthly rise in house prices since July 2007.<br /><br />Hometrack&rsquo;s director of research, Richard Donnell, warns however that &ldquo;the headline growth marks what is essentially a London and South East story,&rdquo; with only 15 per cent of postcodes across the country seeing price rises.<br /><br />In 84 per cent of postcodes house prices remained unchanged for the month.<br /><br />Prices rose in London and the South East by 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively, mainly because the lack of supply is more pronounced than in other parts of the country.<br /><br />A scarcity of housing for sale in and around London should keep prices up for the rest of the year. <br /><br />Beyond London and the South East, Donnell believes that the market will struggle as &ldquo;constrained mortgage availability and expected increases in unemployment are set to act as a drag on demand across large parts of the market&rdquo;.<br /><br />Lead indicators such as the average time a property spends on the market and the proportion of asking price achieved, are promising.<br /><br />Sales are happening faster, with average time on the market falling for the last six months. <br /><br />Nationally, 92.4 per cent of sellers&nbsp; are achieving their asking prices, which is up from a low of 88.3 per cent at the start of the year.<br /><br />However, the number of new buyers registering with agents was only up 1.1 per cent for the month, down from an 8.5 per cent rise in March. <br /><br />The survey was based on 6,237 responses from 1,814 agents and surveyors across all 2,300 English and Welsh postcodes.