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Housing market recovery spreads outside London 

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s housing market recovery spread further beyond London this month as prices rose in more parts of England and Wales outside the capital than at any time over the last decade, a survey showed on Monday.

Asking prices for houses in England and Wales rose 0.6 percent in April, the same pace as in March, according to the survey of estate agents and surveyors from Hometrack.

The report showed 48 percent of postcode districts outside London reported rising house prices, the highest level since June 2004 and three times as high as a year ago.

“Demand continues to grow faster than supply, maintaining the supply/demand imbalance that underpins the upward pressure on house prices,” said Richard O’Donnell, director of research at Hometrack.

“London continues to register above-average growth (of 0.8 percent) but market conditions continue to strengthen in the regions outside London, particularly southern England.”

Hometrack cited “early signs” of price resistance in London, with around two-thirds of London postcodes registering a price gain in April compared with an average of 76 percent over the last six months of 2013.

Overall, the survey suggested housing investment would continue to boost British consumer spending, the principal driver of Britain’s economic recovery so far.

Economists expect data on Tuesday to show quarterly GDP growth picking up in the first quarter to 0.9 percent from 0.7 percent in the last three months of 2013, as business investment and construction also start to rebound.

A separate survey on Monday from Bibby Financial Services, an invoice finance specialist, showed the highest level of first-quarter output from 4,000 clients since 2008, suggesting small and medium-sized businesses had enjoyed their strongest level of activity in six years.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Andrew Roche)

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