"On an annual basis, this is the highest rate of increase for over six years."
The average house price has increased by 0.7% between February and March, with annual growth at 9.8%, according to the latest house price index from e.surv.
Its data shows that excluding London and the South East, house prices have increased by 12.5% over the last year.
In March, the two regions which saw the highest gains in their average house prices are the North West (+0.7%) and the South West (+0.6%).
Conversely the two regions with the largest falls in their market share are the South East (-0.4%) and Greater London (-0.4%).
For the seventh consecutive month and indicative of an entrenched trend, the South West has the highest rate of annual house price growth, at 14.8% in February, and with areas within it such as Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall and Gloucestershire all experiencing price growth in excess of 17.5%.
Somewhat behind and for the third month in succesion, the North West and the East Midlands retain their second and third positions, with growth rates of 12.6% and 11.8% respectively. In the North West, Blackburn with Darwen had the highest annual rate, of 22.3%, while in the East Midlands, Nottingham City came highest at 16.8%.
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, commented: “This month’s Index shows that in the last year, England and Wales have seen the average price of a home increase by some £30,000. On an annual basis, this is the highest rate of increase for over six years. It is a very clear statement about the resilience of the housing market and how well it has responded to the challenges of the pandemic and the fiscal remedies that have been administered in the last year. This level of sustained price growth underlines how well the property market continues to perform in comparison to other areas of the economy.
“To understand why this is happening, we need to look at a combination of monetary, fiscal, public health and political responses of recent times. Demand has been injected into a market of historically low interest rates that have supported buyers’ affordability since 2008. Lockdowns have fuelled people’s willingness to make lifestyle and life-stage changes and the injection of fiscal support, in the form of the temporary stamp duty holiday, has further supported their ability and desire to move home. We now also have the return of higher Loan-To-Value lending which many believe will, in the coming months, offer more welcome support to the market.
“We should be cautious when it comes to London’s lower growth rate. The capital’s market is evolving but the weaker pound has stimulated activity in the more exclusive markets in London though this hasn’t made a notable impact on the index at this stage. London remains a safe-haven for many international buyers and their families. The weak pound helped transactions in ultra-high-net worth markets in the capital rise last year.”