UK house price growth accelerated to an annual rate of 9.6 per cent in the year to March, according to the Office for National Statistics - enough to prompt one analyst to raise his forecast for the 2015 housing market.
The latest figure compares with an annual rate of 7.4 per cent in the year to February.
The region with the biggest rise in the latest figures is Scotland, up 14.6 per cent in the year to March with the average home north of the border hitting £207,000 - a new record according to the ONS.
The Office says the number of mortgages for house sales in Scotland increased by around 50 per cent between February and March and a significant portion of these were for houses costing more than £500,000. "It should also be noted that the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax replaced UK stamp duty land tax in Scotland from April 1 2015” says the ONS, explaining the Scottish surge.
The annual pace of growth has picked up across the majority of the English regions, too, with the East recording the largest annual increase in prices within England at 11.4 per cent followed by London and the South East, both on 11.2 per cent.
London continues to have the highest average house price in the UK-wide index, at £498,000. Yorkshire and the Humber was the region to record the weakest annual house price growth, at 4.4 per cent.
“We are lifting our forecast house price increase in 2015 to six per cent from five per cent, partly due to the increased upward impact on prices coming from a lack of properties on the market” explains Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.
“London may have slipped behind other parts of the south east but that obscures an evolving property market within the capital. Our research shows house prices in Hackney rising at twice the rate of other, more traditionally expensive boroughs” says Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd agency.
Tom Harrington, managing director of online estate agent Housetree, says that “as more stock comes onto the market post-election we could see some moderation in this rising trend” although he believes this may be short-lived.