Majority of post codes are now seeing rising prices in the UK
The housing recovery has now reached the majority of the UK, with research recording higher prices in 51 per cent of postcode areas in February as demand continues to outstrip supply.
Residential property analysts Hometrack found that improving consumer confidence and low mortgage rates are driving up demand for housing in a growing number of regions beyond London and the South East.
And for the first time since July 2004, rises are increasing in more parts of the UK than they are falling.
Richard Donnell, of Hometrack, said: 'The housing recovery continues to spread across the country, building on the momentum that started a year ago.
'The latest survey shows that house prices increased across more than 50 per cent of the country in February, which is the greatest coverage of house price growth for almost a decade, showing the extent to which market sentiment has improved in the last 12 months.
'The continued imbalance between supply and demand indicates we can expect further upward pressure on prices in the months ahead.'
Although the figures suggest that the house price boom is now benefiting the majority of Britons, in some areas prices are still slumping, particularly in the North.
A study by HML published at the weekend found that a significant proportion of people with mortgages in Northern Ireland, Scotland, the North East and the North West have fallen into negative equity by the end of 2013 because of stagnant local markets.
The problem was most pronounced in Northern Ireland, where 41 per cent of mortgage borrowers owe more than their property's value.
Hometrack found that demand for housing increased by 17 per cent in February, the highest for two years, as people look to get into a new home by the end of spring.
It is being met to an extent from the supply side with more owners coming to the market, but the stock of housing for sale only increased by 11.2 per cent last month, not enough to match the demand.
Consumer confidence has grown, according to Hometrack, in part because of low mortgage rates and the promotion of the Help to Buy scheme, a Government-backed initiative to boost the housing market, that is giving people easier access to higher loan-to-value mortgages.
Although the Bank of England's Funding for Lending scheme stopped for mortgage lending as of January, with the base interest rate still at 0.5 per cent the rates that you can get on a mortgage are around half they were seven years ago.
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