January figures a massive surprise

Commenting, he said: "The positivity of these figures is a massive surprise, given the British economy has been in the deepest recession we've seen since the Great Depression - and that we've only just crawled out of it.

“But the stats demonstrate that prices are being kept artificially high, driven by the lack of supply in the market. People are not putting their property on the market because low interest rates are acting as a disincentive. You want to move house but decide not to because you're

on a mortgage that has a very low rate of interest - say 2.5% for some standard variable rate deals. Consumers know that could rise if a new mortgage was taken out for a home move."