Strong demand for houses has buoyed up the property market again this month, leading to a 0.5 per cent rise in prices.
The increase was the largest recorded since the summer of 2004 and the fourth consecutive month of growth, according to the latest survey by Hometrack, the housing research and data website.
House price inflation in the West Midlands, however, is lagging behind the national trend by showing an increase of only 0.2 per cent this month, while in Birmingham the figure is lower still at just 0.1 per cent.
Price falls recorded in previous months mean that the national average cost of a home in England and Wales has edged ahead by just 0.1 per cent during the past 12 months to stand at #162,500, Hometrack said.
March's price increase has been driven by a strongly resurgent London market, where a 1.1 per cent rise has "put something of a gloss on the headline results", Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said.
"Whilst prices moved 0.4 per cent higher in the South West, East Anglia and the South East, growth in all other regions has been far more limited."
The divergence between London and the regions is due to a number of factors, Mr Donnell said.
"A lack of new housing coming on to the market for sale in London is supporting particularly strong price rises at the moment.
"This, combined with the fact that London has underperformed in terms of house price growth over the past few years, means that incomes and house prices in the capital are more closely aligned than is the case in other regions.
"In contrast, affordability levels remain stretched across much of the country and we expect the divergence in growth between London and the rest of the country to continue over the year ahead."
Hometrack said the part of the increase in house prices had been caused by a growing mis-match between supply and demand during the past three months.
There was a seven per cent increase in the number of people looking to buy a new home across England and Wales during March, but the number of properties put up for sale increased by only 3.7 per cent.
The situation was even worse in London, where buyer numbers rose by 10 per cent but compared with an increase of just one per cent in the number of homes put on the market.
But despite the rise in demand, the proportion of their asking price that sellers are getting have risen only marginally during the month to average 94.3 per cent, while the time taken to sell a property was slightly shorter at 7.3 weeks.
The average home in the West Midlands now costs #140,300, Hometrack's figures show.