House prices up 0.6% in February

House prices up 0.6% in February [Image: George-Standen via iStock]

House prices grew at their fastest pace for 12 months in February, with average prices in England and Wales increasing by 0.6 per cent, according to the latest Your Move index. This was double the rate seen in January.

The average price of a house is now £297,832 on the back of strong performances in the east of England, Merseyside and Birmingham, as well as a return of growth in high value London property.

However, annual house price inflation continued to fall for the 12th consecutive month, dropping to 2.4 per cent, which represents the lowest annual rate since 2013.

The index also revealed that estimated transactions in England and Wales in February fell 0.4 per cent from January, but figures from the year to February remain higher than in 2015 and 2013.

Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “It’s an encouraging start to 2017. We’ve seen the strongest house price growth in a year, the emergence of the promised Northern Powerhouse and the first tentative signs of a recovery in our highest priced properties in London.

“The good news too is that the number of first-time buyers grew last year and house building was up - although home ownership is now at its lowest level in over three decades.”

Your Move highlighted the the recent English Housing Survey, which showed that the market is being supported by rising numbers of first-time buyers and more transactions in the last year. According to the estate agents, the increasing contribution of a strong market in the North West of England - centred on Manchester - also gives hope for “more balanced, if modest, price growth going forward”.