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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Housing market 'getting stronger'
Semi-detached house
Surveyors say house prices are rising
The housing market is continuing to get stronger, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says.

The group's latest survey reports that house prices in April rose for the sixth month in a row.

Enquiries from buyers also rose, for a record 11th month in a row, and sales were 17% up on a year ago.

"The rise of house prices suggests a return of confidence to the market boosted by a healthy economic climate," said RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf.

To compile its data, the institution asks its members who work as estate agents if prices in their area are higher or lower than a year ago.

A positive balance between those answering yes or no suggests prices are generally rising, while a negative balance suggests they are falling.

In the latest survey, 15% more surveyors reported that prices were rising than falling - up from the 12% positive balance reported in April.

The figures tie in with those from other property market surveys, such as those from the Nationwide, Halifax, ODPM and the Land Registry, which have all pointed to a brisk pick-up in prices in the early months of this year.

The RICS says that the market is busiest in London and Scotland but prices are still falling in the Midlands.

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