ONS: House prices up 5.5pc in October

The year-on-year increase reflected growth of 5.7% in England, 2.0% in Wales, 3.3% in Scotland and 4.8% in Northern Ireland.

The ONS said that house price growth is beginning to increase across parts of the UK, with prices in London increasing faster than the UK average.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “'House prices continue to soar in London, with an incredible 12% rise in the 12 months to October.

“This surge in prices in the capital helped lift overall national growth to 5.5% - or 3.1% once London and the south east are stripped out.

“This demonstrates the limitations of a national average price as it can mask significant regional differences.

“While London is a micro market of its own, other parts of the country are seeing far less activity and demand, which is keeping a lid on prices, although house price growth is beginning to increase elsewhere.”

The index found that excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 3.1% in the 12 months to October 2013.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 1.4% between September and October 2013.

In October 2013, prices paid by first-time buyers were 5.9% higher on average than in October 2012. For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 5.3% for the same period.

Harris said: “First-time buyers are paying some 5.9% more for a home than in October last year. But with mortgage rates cheaper than they were then, home ownership should be more affordable.

“However, it is important that buyers plan ahead for potential interest rate rises and ensure they can afford their mortgage once this happens.”