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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 00:00 GMT
Northern housing market buoyant
Angel of the North
Price growth strongest in the North
House prices continued to climb in October, particularly in the North and West, despite expectations that interest rates will rise.

The latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) concluded that house prices rose sharply in most parts.

Overall, 18% more surveyors reported price rises than price falls.

And the majority of surveyors said they were optimistic that house prices would remain buoyant into 2004.

Dearer borrowing

The Monetary Policy Committee of Bank of England increased interest rates by 0.25% to 3.75% in November.

The upward move had been expected, and some experts suggested that public anticipation of rising rates would act as a brake on the housing market.

However, RICS said the housing market showed nearly identical price growth in October to that of the previous month.

The vast majority of surveyors in the North and North West said that prices were rising in October.

In Wales, the West Midlands and Yorkshire, a majority of surveyors said that prices were rising or were at a standstill.

As for London, 11% more surveyors said prices were rising rather than falling.

RICS warned that gazumping - which happens when sellers drop a deal at the last minute to grab a better one, leaving the buyer in the lurch - may be reappearing, particularly at the top end of the capital's housing market.

In fact, only in East Anglia and the South East are more surveyors reporting price falls than rises.

As for the future, 92% of surveyors in England and Wales said they thought house prices would rise or remain stable during the next three months.

On Monday, a survey from property website Rightmove indicated that prices were calming down in the run up to Christmas.

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