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LONDON-House prices are going ballistic again. According to the RoyalInstitution of Chartered Surveyors housing market survey for England andWales for the three months to September 2002, the difference betweensurveyors reporting a rise in prices and those reporting a fall was 58% inSeptember, up 6% on the previous month and almost two and a half times thelong-term trend of 24%.

Across the country the upturn in prices wasstrongest in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside, but the Londonmarket showed signs of picking up following a slowdown over the summer.

Despite rising prices, the potential number of buyers making enquirieswent up in comparison with the previous month. In September the number ofcontributors to the survey reporting a fall in buyer enquiries was 10%compared to 29% in August.

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors expectprices to continue to rise with the difference between those expecting arise against those expecting a fall at 31%, 1% lower than last month, butmuch higher than the same period last year.

Even though the averagenumber of sales slipped slightly over the last four months, the number ofsurveyors expecting sales to rise remains high, with 43% more contributorsexpecting an increase than expecting a fall. This is close to the highestlevels since January 2001 and shows that despite the recent acceleration inprice inflation, the overall market remains buoyant.

RICS nationalhousing spokesman, Ian Perry, said: ‘Following a slight easing back in pricerises in July and August, house prices are once again rising strongly andthat looks set to continue, at least in the near future. Enquiries from newbuyers have also picked up as fears of interest rate rises subside andpotential buyers return from their summer break.

‘While there is still areal shortage of houses of all types, that does not seem to have put offbuyers. Economic conditions remain good with consumers in a buoyant mood,despite some concerns over the international situation.’

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