Average house prices across the UK increased by 7.9 per cent over the year to January, up from 6.7 per cent in the year to December, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
The average price for properties bought by first-time buyers increased by 7.7 per cent over the year to January, up from an increase of 6.4 per cent in the year to December.
The average price paid for a house by a former owner-occupier was £340,000, while the average price paid for a house by a first-time buyer was £222,000 and the overall average UK mix-adjusted house price in January was £292,000.
The ONS offers no analysis to explain the rise but agents say this may be down to a surge in purchasing ahead of the stamp duty surcharge deadline, coming next week.
The overall ONS figures masked significant regional variations.
Average house prices in England rose over the year to January by 8.6 per cent, up from 7.3 per cent in the year to December, but there was a 0.3 per cent decrease in average house prices in Wales.
Within England the largest annual increase coming in the south east at 11.7 per cent, with London up 10.8 per cent. The north east continued to have the lowest annual growth of any part of the UK -up just 0.9 per cent in a year.