House prices up 4.2pc annually

The region in England and Wales which experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over the last 12 months was London with a movement of 10.9%.

On a monthly basis prices were up by 1% as the North East experienced the greatest monthly rise with a movement of 2.6%.

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “January has carried through momentum from 2013 and the recovery of the property market is building further this year.

“However, for some potential first-time buyers, home ownership is proving more difficult rather than becoming a more achievable aspiration.

“With house prices rising, those without a step already on the ladder are finding it harder to make the leap.

“More higher loan to value lending – meaning smaller deposits are needed – is however helping more first-time buyers than the market has seen for some years.

“This is a key factor that is helping drive the housing market forward. Rents are seeing a more modest rising trend, providing some breathing space for renters waiting to buy and saving up a deposit as landlords expand their portfolios and the private rented sector continues to grow.”

The Index also revealed a decrease in repossessions that dropped by 33% in November 2013 to 1,162 compared with 1,722 in November 2012.