UK house prices soared in February at the highest growth rate recorded in more than six years – but London lagged behind the rest of the country.
Average house prices across the UK increased 8.6 per cent in the year to February, up from eight per cent in January.
This is the highest house price growth recorded in the UK since October 2014.
The average UK house price was £250,000 this year, an increase of £20,000 compared to February last year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
London recorded the worst annual growth, as average house prices in the capital grew 4.6 per cent, down from 5.7 per cent in January.
However, the average house price in London remained the most expensive of any region, rising to £496,000.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The housing market continued to be buoyant in February, with annual growth picking up.
“The launch of the mortgage guarantee scheme backed by the government will provide a further boost for the market, enabling those with modest deposits to get on the housing ladder sooner rather than later.
“However, while a growing number of lenders are offering 95 per cent mortgages, with pricing hovering around the 4 per cent mark, it is a classic case of the ‘haves and have nots’ as pricing on lower loan-to-value mortgages continues to edge downwards.”
Nicky Stevenson, managing director at estate agent chain Fine & Country, said the property market remains “in a parallel universe at odds with the wider reality everyone has been living”.
“It’s been a gloom-defying 12 months given that last March, when the first lockdown arrived, the market seized up, mortgage products were withdrawn and everyone held their breath,” she said.
“Fast forward a year and you no longer need to be a mystic or expert to predict what comes next and that’s precisely the point. Confidence is king and there’s plenty of it out there. That would have remained true even if the stamp duty holiday had ended. Now that it hasn’t, that’s just more fuel on the fire but it’s impact has been overstated all along.”