Here's how much house prices have increased so far this year

 
Helen Cahill
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There are far fewer buy to let investors looking for properties (Source: Getty)

The housing market has had a robust start to 2017, with house prices increasing 0.4 per cent in January as compared to December.

House prices grew 3.2 per cent year-on-year, according to figures from Rightmove.

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In London, asking prices increased 1.4 per cent (or £8,793) month-on-month, bringing the London average asking price to £624,953.

The new year has brought a different mix of buyers onto the market, with a higher proportion of first-time buyers looking for a home than the year before.

This is largely due to tax changes. Buy to let investment has been cooling ever since the government increased the rate of stamp duty on second homes last April. Sales to buy to let investors were down 13.2 per cent in December 2016 as compared to the prior year, Rightmove's data showed.

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The number of properties with two beds or fewer also increased 1.9 per cent, providing more choice for people looking to get onto the property ladder.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director said: "It's a possible learning point for aspiring first time buyers that a year ago buy to let purchasers acted more quickly and closed deals at a faster rate, appearing not to take a Christmas break."

First-time buyers are still facing plenty of competition in the market, though, as price inflation has been most marked on two-bed properties. Prices for this category of home rose 2.6 per cent month-on-month and 6.4 per cent year-on-year.

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