House prices in the UK increased by an average of 9.1% in the 12 months to February 2014.
This is the highest annual increase since June 2010, and is a big jump from the figure of 6.8% for the year to January 2014.
The average price of a house is now over a quarter of a million pounds – £253,000, to be exact.
Whether these statistics are a cause for joy or worry depends largely on if you think we’re in the middle of a housing boom or crisis.
The following three graphs might help you make up your mind.
First, the percentage change in house prices in the 12 months to February 2014, broken down by region:
Regional house price growth in the 12 months to February 2014
You can see there is a huge difference between London, where prices increased by 17.7%, and Scotland, where they rose by just 2.4%.
If you exclude London and the south-east, UK house prices increased by 5.8% over the year to February 2014.
That 17.7% figure for London is the largest annual increase in the capital since July 2007, when prices increased by 18.8%.
Here’s the second graph. It shows the average house prices in the 12 months to February 2014 in both the nations and regions of the UK:
Average house prices in the year to February 2014 by region
Again, there’s a significant disparity when comparing the regions.
London is the English region with the highest average house price at £458,000, while the north-east has the lowest average house price at £146,000.
Take out London and the south-east and the average UK house price comes down to £196,000.
Lastly, here’s the 12-month percentage change in annual house prices as measured from January 2004 to February 2014.
The percentage change in UK house prices since 2004
House price growth hasn’t quite reached some of its pre-crash peaks, but this graph shows – rather dramatically – how the rate has started to rocket in 2014.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you’re now paying a house price that’s on average 10.5% higher than 12 months ago.
And if you’re an existing owner, prices are up by 8.6% for the same period.
Depending on your circumstances, that’s yet another reason for celebration – or despair.
(All graphs are from the Office for National Statistics)