The average UK house price rose to £229,544 in February - just 1 per cent away from the 2008 peak of £231,829, according to LSL Property Services house price index.
Prices rose 0.6 per cent on the previous month, representing one of the largest monthly in fifteen months, and were 3.7 per cent higher than the figure of £221,390 recorded for the same period in 2011.
E.surv director Richard Sexton says: “The housing market is beginning to change gears and pick up some momentum. February sales leapt up by 15 per cent: that’s five times the usual seasonal rise thanks to improved mortgage availability and cheaper funding. The Funding for Lending scheme is allowing lenders to reduce mortgage rates and this has led to a mini-revival in the first time buyer market. High LTV lending is forming a bigger overall share of lending and credit scoring is easing.”
Growth was strongest in Greater London where house price inflation was almost three times higher than any other region in England and Wales. East Anglia was the only other region to demonstrate a stronger performance than the average for England and Wales as a whole.
Prices rose by 3.5 per cent between January 2012 and January 2013 to reach an average of £202,296 in East Anglia and were up 10.2 per cent in Greater London to reach £434,681.
House prices in England and Wales as a whole rose 3.5 per cent over the same twelve month period to reach an average of £228,189.
The largest decline was recorded for Wales where prices fell 0.6 per cent to an average of £151,099.