£12,000 increase in a year drives average house price to new high
House prices reached a record high in February after increasing by £12,000 on average over the past year, according to official figures.
Property values increased by 5.8% year-on-year to reach a record of £218,000 typically across the UK, figures compiled jointly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Land Registry and other bodies show.
The annual increase is slower than the average growth of 7.3% seen in 2016. Property values edged up by 0.6% month on month in February.
A first-time buyer in Britain faces paying 6% more for a home than a year ago, with the average buyer in this sector now paying £183,857.
The main driver of the 5.8% annual increase in house prices was England, where values increased by 6.3% over the year to February to reach £234,000 on average.
Wales saw house prices increase by 1.8% over the previous 12 months to stand at £145,000 typically.
In Scotland, the average price increased by 3.1% over the year to stand at £139,000. The average price in Northern Ireland stands at £125,000, marking a 5.7% annual rise.
The East of England recorded a double digit increase. House prices there were 10.3% higher than a year earlier, taking them to around £282,000 on average.
House prices in London were 3.7% higher than a year earlier - a slower rate of growth than English regions such as the Midlands, the South East, the South West and the North West.
The North East saw the slowest rate of house price growth among the English regions, with an annual increase of 2.2%.
London has the highest average house price, at £475,000. The North East of England has the lowest, at £124,000.
The local authority showing the largest annual growth in the year to February 2017 was the Shetland Islands, where prices jumped by 25.9% to stand at £184,000 on average.
The report said low house sales numbers there could lead to volatility in the figures. The lowest annual growth was recorded in Aberdeen, where prices fell by 9.6% to stand at £161,000.
In February, the most expensive borough to live in was Kensington and Chelsea, where the average price for a house was £1.4 million. The cheapest place to purchase a property was Blaenau Gwent in South Wales, where the average price for a house was £78,000.