UK house prices up 1.9pc
That compares with a previous annual increase of 2.2% in the 12 months to January.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘House prices continue to climb as far as the national average is concerned although not as high as in the previous 12 months, but this masks significant regional differences.”
The index revealed an increasing disparity in regional prices as prices rose by 5.9% in London and fell by 7.7% in Northern Ireland.
Harris said: “Strip London and the South East out of the equation and you get a very different picture.
“The national average is therefore useful as a very general indicator of what is going on but not much more than this.”
The index also revealed that first-time buyers continue to pay more for their first home with prices 1.6% higher than in February 2012.
Harris added: “While homeowners will welcome higher house prices those struggling to get on the housing ladder for the first time are unlikely to feel the same.
“There was good news from the Council of Mortgage Lenders yesterday suggesting a rise in the number of first-time buyers which does suggest that funding is easier to come by for those with more modest deposits.
“But can it keep up with the rise in property prices? If property prices continue to edge up, this is not going to help the situation.
“The outlook for the housing market is increasingly positive with Funding for Lending and the Help to Buy schemes fuelling interest and optimism that now may be the time to get a mortgage. We expect this to continue throughout the year.’