House prices in the UK rose by the biggest amount in more than four years in December, according to mortgage lender Nationwide.
It measured a 1.4% increase in the month – its best performance since August 2009 – leaving annual growth in the year to December at 8.4%.
The surge, Nationwide calculated, raised the average house price to £175,826, but London continues to outperform the rest of the country.
Prices in the capital are now 14% above their 2007 peak, with the price of a typical London home at £345,186.
The North of England remains the weakest performing region, although each region achieved growth in the three months to the end of December.
The latest data will further fuel concerns that the second phase of the Government’s Help To Buy scheme is only likely to raise prices – but it appears it is helping the construction industry that was hammered by the financial crisis.
Official figures have shown that new home-building boosted Britain’s construction industry in December.
It reported its second-fastest month of growth in more than six years – although it was slightly lower than the previous month.
Construction PMI fell to 62.1 in December from November’s reading of 62.6, the index’s highest level since August 2007.
And the upward trend looks set to continue. The number of people attempting to get on the property ladder using the Government’s Help To Buy scheme has trebled in the last two months.
In November, figures showed in the first month of the scheme’s launch more than 2,000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help To Buy mortgage.