LONDON (Alliance News) - Residential property prices in the UK rose to an all-time high in March as the ongoing economic recovery and a favorable mortgage market boosted demand, while rising prices lured more sellers back into the property market.
The average asking price of a UK house advanced 1.6% in March from the prior month, marking the third month of increase in a row, figures published by property tracking firm Rightmove showed Monday. However, the growth rate was lower than February's 3.3%.
The average asking price for a new property coming to market climbed to GBP255,962 from GBP25,1964 in February, setting a new record. The previous peak was GBP253,658 set in July last year.
London continued to contribute strongly to the surge in national property prices, despite a slowdown in the top-end locations in the capital, Rightmove said.
On a yearly basis, the house price index posted a 6.8% gain during March, which was slightly weaker than the 6.9% rise in the previous month.
The report also showed that there was a 3.4% month-on-month increase in the number of new properties advertised in the last four weeks. This was higher by 8.7% than in March 2013.
"With prices on the up and set to increase more, there is a greater sense of urgency among buyers, and as an increasing number of them are existing home-owners, the supply of property for sale is starting to increase to meet growing buyer demand," Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.
"The mass property market is starting to unlock after years of being handcuffed by fragile consumer confidence and a lack of low-deposit mortgages," Shipside added.
Earlier this month, a survey by property management firm Halifax showed that house prices increased for the eleventh straight month in February, underscoring the strong pick up in home values in the UK The month-on-month growth accelerated sharply to 2.4% from 1.2% in January.
Figures published by Nationwide Housing Society and Hometrack, in early March and at the end of last month respectively, showed that house prices grew at faster rates in February.
A report from Bank of England this month showed that mortgage approvals in the UK increased sharply in January and hit their highest level since November 2007. The number of mortgages climbed to 76,947 from 72,798 in December.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX