UK average house prices increased by 8.6% in the year to February 2021, according to data collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This increase represents the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since October 2014.
Average house prices rose by the greatest margin in England, up 8.7% to £268,000, followed by Wales, with a rise of 8.4% to £180,000.
Scotland saw prices rise by 8% to £162,000, and in Northern Ireland average property prices rose by 5.3% to £148,000.
The North West was the English region to see the highest annual growth in average house prices, up 11.9%, while London saw the lowest, rising by 4.6%.
Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Demand for homes has been remarkable since the start of the year and this has contributed to the house price increases seen in recent months.
“For existing homeowners and those looking to sell their property this will be welcomed news and helps put to bed concerns of a price crash in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
“Of course, it is important that the whole industry works together and with policymakers, to ensure this growth is sustainable.
“By this, we mean supply must be boosted to keep pace with demand, ensuring the prospect of homeownership is an affordable reality for all; and also that these new homes are designed and built in ways that supports our country’s net zero emissions targets.
“Creating sustainable homes, at scale, is the key to a successful future for the UK housing market and delivering that is an ambition we in the industry, as well as government, policymakers and regulators, must all share.”
Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, added: “UK house prices are continuing to increase month-on-month, which suggests the stamp duty holiday is maintaining market buoyancy into the spring.
“To put this into context, this is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since October 2014, with house prices currently sitting at 8.6% higher than the same time last year.
“However, it’s worth bearing in mind that house prices could fall when the stamp duty holiday ends.
“At the moment, the increased demand is creating a false economy of bidding wars and a lower stock of available properties.
“In addition to this, there’s been a reported increase in homes that have sold for inflated prices being down valued at the survey stage within the mortgage process.
It’s also important to note that as a result of this demand, the current wait time to receive a mortgage approval and complete on a property in the UK is 171 days.”
Nigel Purves, chief executive of Wayhome, said: “Aspiring homeowners suffer another setback today with house prices rising by 8.6% over the year to February 2021, up from 8.0% in January this year – the highest annual growth rate since October 2014.
“And with average house prices in England increasing to £268,000 feasible buying opportunities continue to be squeezed.
“Indeed, despite incentives such as the stamp duty holiday and 95% government backed mortgages now kicking in, affordability is still a major concern.
“That said, we’re still seeing the dash for more space is a priority as a quarter of UK renters and homeowner’s property needs have changed due to COVID-19.
“Indeed, a lot of hopeful homeowners are after larger homes with more indoor and outdoor space as we shift towards hybrid working.
“With the end of lockdown in sight, now is the time for the housing industry to support innovative ways to get people into homes that are actually suitable for their needs.”