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Data shows lending, prices and sales volumes have soared

A slew of housing reports have shown that prices, lending and sales volumes are all on the up

House prices increased by almost a tenth in the year to February 2014, according to official data released this week.

The Office for National Statistics said UK homes were selling for 9.1 per cent more this February than in the same month the previous year.

This was the largest annual increase for almost four years and took the price of an average house to £253,000.

Meanwhile, mortgage lending was a third higher this March than in the same month last year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: ‘Alongside benign developments in the wider UK economy and the labour market, housing market sentiment continues to strengthen.’ 

Property website Rightmove said asking prices for properties new to the market were increasing at their fastest rate since the credit crunch began.

The firm said this week that prices soared by an average of 7.3 per cent across the UK in the 12 months to April 2014.

This was the sharpest annual increase since October 2007 with the average home now on the market for £262,594.

Meanwhile figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently showed that home sale volumes were booming as well.

A RICS poll found that an average of 22.7 homes was sold per chartered surveyor in the first quarter of this year – the highest number since early 2008.

The government’s Help to Buy policy has been credited with turning the housing market around, converting pent-up demand into real customers by making mortgages affordable.

Help to Buy, which offers loans and guarantees to allow people to purchase homes with deposits as low as 5 per cent of the asking price, was extended to the end of the decade in March’s Budget. 

All the positive housing market data is set to feed into increased work for architects over the coming months.

The Construction Products Association this week forecast the number of private houses beginning construction would soar by a fifth this year.

Architects spoke about their hopes and fears for the housing market in AJ last summer.

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