U.K. Home Prices Climb Amid Signs of Resistance in London

U.K. house prices increased in April for a 15th month as the momentum in the property market spread beyond London, Hometrack Ltd. said.

Values in England and Wales rose 0.6 percent, the same pace as in March, the London-based property researcher said in an e-mailed statement today. Forty-eight percent of postcodes recorded an increase, the highest proportion in a decade.

House prices are being driven by record-low Bank of England interest rates, a shortage of property for sale and a strengthening economy that’s creating jobs. Officials have said they’re monitoring the market for signs price increases may jeopardize financial stability.

“The pickup in the coverage of price rises is very clear-cut,” Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said in the statement. “Improving market sentiment and low mortgage rates are supporting increased activity.”

The pound rose 0.3 percent from April 25 and was trading at $1.6847 at 10:04 a.m. in London. The 10-year gilt yield was 2 basis points higher at 2.66 percent.

New buyers registering with real-estate agents to browse property rose 3.3 percent, compared with a 6.6 percent increase the previous month. The time a property is on the market before it sells dropped to 6.3 weeks, the lowest since June 2007.

Prices rose in all 10 regions covered by Hometrack. Gains were led by a 0.8 percent increase in London, though there were emerging signs of “price resistance” in the capital. The time on the market in London rose to 3.4 weeks from 2.7 weeks, while the share of postcodes reporting price gains fell to 66 percent from 76 percent and the proportion of the asking price achieved dropped to 99 percent from 99.3 percent, Hometrack said.

“While these changes indicate very strong market conditions, they suggest that buyers are starting to become less willing to bid up the cost of housing at recent rates,” Donnell said.

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