Annual house price inflation is now running at 6.5 per cent according to the latest Nationwide index after a 0.9 per cent rise in November alone.
With high demand and the stamp duty holiday still showing strong momentum, the Nationwide figures come on top of property transactions rising to 105,600 in October, the highest level since 2016, and mortgage approvals for house purchases hitting 97,500 - the highest since 2007.
Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner says: "The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy.
"Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward.
Unsurprisingly, agents are delighted.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “These figures feel like the storm before the calm as buyers and sellers rushed to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before the March deadline, despite continuing Covid restrictions in October, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and economic growth stalling. That frenzy has been since replaced by a quieter, but just as determined mood to complete sales previously agreed. We don’t see any signs either of significant price adjustments."
Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Strike, comments: “Transaction rates are through the roof and news of a vaccine has further boosted the confidence of sellers and buyers alike – with no signs of activity slowing down before the end of the year. People will inevitably start to question how long this can all last. However, things aren’t just going to grind to a sudden halt with the stamp duty holiday ending.”
And the director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, adds: “We’re seeing strong evidence of sustained defiance by the UK property market on all fronts. Mortgage approvals continue to spiral, we’re reaping the benefits of a considerable uplift in buyer demand in terms of actual transactions completing and, as a result, house prices are climbing to heights we’ve not seen in quite some time. These certainly aren’t indicators of a market running low on steam as we approach the festive period and we can expect to see this momentum carry through until spring of next year, at the very least.”