Martin Ellis, housing economist for the Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, highlighted a 7.3 per cent increase in average house prices in January compared to the same month in 2013.
He said: “With the supply of properties being slow to respond to more buoyant market conditions, stronger demand has resulted in continued upward pressure on house prices.”
Data from the lender showed there was a 21 per cent rise in sales in the six months to September 2013, compared to the six months of 2012. This was the highest year-on-year increase in the past decade.
However the rise was still 41 per cent lower than the market peak of 673,699 in the same six months of 2006.
Monthly sales in the southeast exceeded 100,000 for the first time since 2007 and the east London borough of Newham showed the largest increase at 62 per cent. It was closely followed by Redhill, Surrey, at 56 per cent and Farnborough, Hampshire, at 52 per cent. Crowborough in East Sussex had the largest decline in sales with transactions down by 10 per cent.
The number of towns in the survey recording a rise in sales in the six months to September 2013 increased to 98 per cent of those surveyed, compared with 26 per cent in the same period a year ago. The majority of the towns that saw a rise in sales were in the south.
Jeremy Duncombe, director of the Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite recent positivity it is worth remembering that until transaction levels increase to where they were in 2007 the market will still be in the recovery phase and we are well below that level.”
Mark Harris, chief executive of London-based SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The housing market has started 2014 where 2013 left off. Confidence among buyers is high with regard to their ability to get mortgage finance and their belief that house prices will continue to rise. Subsequently estate agents and mortgage brokers have got off to an incredibly busy start.”
Table: Towns with the highest % increase in property sales, 2003 – 2013
Sales % change, 2012*-2013*
Sources: Lloyds Bank, Land Registry. *6 months to September