House asking prices in the South have reached more than double those in the North, creating a record divide, a report from Rightmove found today.
Southerners are typically putting their homes on the market for £336,743, compared with £164,347 in the Northern regions, sparking fears that a "two-tier twist" could be hampering more widespread growth in the market.
The £170,000 chasm is the largest in monetary terms since Rightmove's records began in 2002.
The monthly index revealed an overall 2.8% increase in asking prices, a jump of £6,533 from mid September to reach £239,672 in mid October.
But this rise was driven by the South, including London, the South East, the South West and East Anglia, which experienced a 4.7% upsurge overall.
Meanwhile, the North, which for the purposes of the survey included Wales, the West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, the North West and the North of England, fell back by 0.7% in the space of a month, to levels first achieved more than six years ago in May 2005.
Properties in some of the South regions came onto the market at an all-time high. In London, the typical price was £450,210 - 2.6% higher than a previous record set in June.
Kensington and Chelsea was the best-performing area of the capital, with prices up 6.6% in a month to typically reach £1,917,895.
In the South East people were asking £317,055 for their properties - up 0.2% on the previous high achieved in May 2008.
Compared with the start of the credit crunch four years ago, prices of properties coming to market have risen by 5.4% in the South but tumbled by 9.6% in the North, Rightmove said.
Last week, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported a 7% rise in the number of loans for house purchase, showing "welcome signs of life".
Mortgage lenders are offering record low deals as the Bank of England's base rate remains at a 0.5% historic low.
Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: "Wider access to mortgages and rising asking prices are early signs of increasing demand, giving homeowners some grounds for hope of a market recovery.
"However, the reality is that there is further evidence of a two-tier twist which is dogging the return to more widespread liquidity in the housing market."
The report pointed out that areas grouped as the "North" for the survey have been badly hit by unemployment, so job concerns, particularly in the public sector, will be pushing house prices down.
Mr Shipside said: "If prices are perceived to be rising then buyers are afraid that their dream home could move out of their reach unless they act quickly.
"These drivers of higher volumes of transactions and more buoyant conditions are more prevalent in the South."
He continued: "Low rate mortgage deals will only benefit those with the requisite high deposits, and at the moment the best equity growth has been seen in the London market.
"With record prices in the capital, some will be priced out of the best areas and will either have to stay put or look for value further afield.
"If they are looking to move to the North of the country, the growing price gap will let them buy a lot more house for their money."
Rightmove's monthly report is based on asking price listings on its website, covering around 90% of homes for sale.