Average house prices close to 2008 peak
The index also shows that sales increased by 15% in February as mortgage availability rose and bank funding conditions continued to improve. This resulted in a monthly house price move of 0.6% and a year-on-year change of 3.7%.
Dr Peter Williams, housing market specialist and chairman of Acadametrics, said: “Over the last fifteen months the monthly price index has fallen in only one month (August 2012) with all the other months seeing percentage increases of between 0.0% and 1.1% in the average price.
“The February rate of +0.6% is the third highest monthly increase in prices over the last fifteen months.
“Over the last 12 months there have been two distinct periods in the market. The first a relatively high growth in prices of +2.9% from February to May 2012, followed by a slower period of price uplift.
“The boost in prices in February 2013 has placed the monthly rate slightly ahead of the trend-line. It will be interesting to see whether the rise in prices during the spring months of 2013 will continue at the higher rates of spring 2012.
“Over the last year average house prices in England & Wales have risen by 3.7%, which is just ahead of the annual rate of inflation (RPI was 3.3% in January). The average house price in February 2013 now stands at £229,544, which is £2,285, or 1.0%, below the peak price seen in February 2008.
“It is worth remembering that prices during the housing crisis fell by 13.6% from the peak, so the current position of 1.0% off that peak shows how the market has recovered over the last five years.
“January and February are normally the quietest months of the year for housing transactions. On average, there is a 3% increase in activity in February compared to January, but this year we estimate that the increase will be closer to 15%.
“This suggests a rally in property transactions, although only time will tell how long this rally will last.”