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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 00:55 GMT
House prices move above 200,000
House hunting
There is renewed buyer interest, Rightmove says
The average asking price of a home in England and Wales has broken through the 200,000 barrier due to renewed demand from buyers, a report has said.

Overall, the asking price of property rose 2.7% in the past month - the fastest pace of increase for two years, property website Rightmove said.

All regions saw prices rise - something that has not happened since May 2004.

"Properties are selling more quickly and stock levels declining," Miles Shipside, Rightmove spokesman, said.

"Buyers are back, particularly at the bottom end of the market. We believe this will lead to further sales as successful sellers move up the property ladder," Mr Shipside added.

On average property took 81 days to sell - down from 94 days the previous month.

'Strong start'

The picture of renewed demand for property echoes recent surveys from the Nationwide and Halifax.

The Nationwide said house prices have made a "strong start" in 2006, while Halifax said prices had increased by 1.6% during the past three months.

Rightmove collates asking prices for houses placed on its own website over the previous month.

The sample size is quite extensive, as Rightmove claims to display around 35% of all homes for sale.

Over half of the UK's largest estate agency chains choose to list their properties on its site.

However, Rightmove's figures do not reflect the prices at which properties actually sell.

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