West Midlands joins London in house price surge

In England prices grew by 3.3%, largely driven by London at 8.1%, the West Midlands, 3.1% and the South East, 2.9%, with growth of 4.3% seen in Wales. These rises were offset by falls of 0.9% in Scotland and 0.4% in Northern Ireland.

Oliver Atkinson, director of the online estate agency Urban Sales and Lettings, said: "We are a nationwide estate agency and the most active areas of buyer activity in recent months, reflecting the findings of both the ONS and RICS, have been the North East, Wales and the West Midlands.

"The return of the regions is arguably far more important to the UK property market than the microcosm that is London. A rounded property market has strength in depth and is not geared on the performance of one area.”

Excluding London and the South East UK house prices increased by 1.0% in the 12 months to June 2013.

And in June 2013 prices paid by first-time buyers were 3.9% higher on average than in June 2012. For owner-occupiers prices increased by 2.7% for the same period.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Yet another survey shows that house prices continue to rise although the picture varies across the country with London leading the way and prices falling in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Harris added that the “hopeless” returns on cash were driving many to invest in buy-to-let properties driving up demand for property.

But he warned that with the addition of government schemes to assist homebuyers, the UK could be heading towards another housing bubble.

He said: “Buyers need to always consider the three most important factors of a property purchase: location, location and location.

“Buy sensibly, consider schools and transport and if you are buying as an investment choose a property that a tenant will want to live in rather than one that appeals to you.”

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of property search consultants Garrington, said: "Annual price rises in the capital are running at more than twice the rate of anywhere else in the country and prime London stock is still hot property with foreign investors.

"But it's encouraging to see that other areas of the UK, beyond the London bubble, are starting to see the green shoots of growth.

"The key now is ensure that this recovery is sustained but at a healthy rate. We don't want the horse to bolt."