Although some of the rises appear incremental – for example, just 0.6 per cent year-on-year for Wales – the ONS data suggests there has been a healthy upwards trend.
In the past 12 months UK house prices increased by 2.9 per cent, up from a 2.6 per cent increase in the 12 months to April 2013.
It found that annual house price increases in England were driven by a 6.6 per cent rise in London and a 2.7 per cent increase in both the northwest and the West Midlands.
Excluding London and the southeast, UK house prices increased by 1.9 per cent in the 12 months to May 2013.
May was the first month that house prices in Northern Ireland have grown year-on-year since February 2008.
Prices paid by first-time buyers in the UK during May were 4.1 per cent higher on average than in May 2012.
UK year-on-year increase reflects annual growth of:
3.1% in England
0.8% in Scotland
0.6% in Wales
1.9% in Northern Ireland
Brian Murphy, head of lending for national firm the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The hike in house prices continued in May with growth reported across all parts of the UK.
“Help to Buy has played a significant part in the market’s resurgence with nearly 7000 reservations to date. However the next step of the scheme must seek to improve market access.
“Despite the availability of record fixed-rate deals, the current market favours higher earners and less affluent buyers are still finding their options limited as deposit requirements rise in line with house prices.”