Homes are now worth £250,000 on average, a £20,000 increase on February 2020, it added. The North-west was the English region with the highest annual growth at nearly 12 percent while London was the lowest at 4.6 percent. The figures were released as HM Revenue and Customs said that house sales in March 2021 were around double the number a year previously. HMRC said an estimated 190,980 sales took place, compared with 94,380 transactions in March 2020 and around a third higher than in February this year.
Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Available properties appear to be getting snapped up quickly, adding upward pressure on prices.
“Buying behaviour continues to be dominated by the pursuit for space, with detached homes rising by 9.1 percent in the year to February 2021, in contrast with flats and maisonettes, which saw a 6.7 percent increase.
“With the stamp duty relief in place in its current form until the end of June, and the jobs market fairly resilient…we expect price momentum to continue for a few more months.”
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Transactions are always a surer sign of the health of the housing market than house prices and a surge in activity in March shows that people continue to hunt for more space, while taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday and cheap mortgages.”
Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Strike, added: “Combined with growing optimism due to the vaccination rollout and the desire for a fresh start in fresh surroundings, it’s likely to be a hot summer for Britain’s property market.”
However, the Office for National Statistics cautioned that the pandemic had an impact on sales with more volatility than usual in the latest house sales estimates and the numbers could be revised later.