Agents have universally welcomed new Nationwide data showing annual price growth picked up to 5.0 per cent last month - the highest rate since autumn 2016.
According to the figures, prices rose 0.9 per cent month-on-month after taking account of seasonal factors.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, comments: "Housing market activity has recovered strongly in recent months. Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose from around 66,000 in July to almost 85,000 in August - the highest since 2007, well above the monthly average of 66,000 prevailing in 2019.
"The rebound reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is adding to the momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown."
The latest Nationwide research also shows some people having put off moving home because of the pandemic: of those considering a move pre-Coronavirus, 19 per cent have put plans on hold, with just over a quarter citing worries about the property market.
Gardener adds: "Younger people were much more likely to have put off plans than older people, which may reflect concerns about employment prospects.
“Indeed, most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as tighter restrictions dampen economic activity and the furlough scheme winds down. While the recently announced jobs support scheme will provide some assistance, it is not as comprehensive as the furlough scheme it replaces.”
In response, London agent and former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: ”There’s little sign on the ground yet that this report and others which have emerged recently reflect the calm before the storm and a fizzling out of the mini-boom. Certainly increased restrictions and the unwinding of the furlough scheme will have some impact on confidence but not much at the moment.
“Of just as much concern to our buyers, and particularly those vital first-time buyers, is mortgage accessibility with lenders running the risk of reducing activity in the market at a time when it is so vital to the economy generally.”
Meanwhile Marc von Grundherr of Benham and Reeves agency cautions: “We’re already seeing considerable backlogs in sale completions at the legal stage due to the unprecedented levels of market activity. We expect this activity will remain extremely strong, at least, until the stamp duty reprieve for homebuyers had ended. At which point normality may return.”