The housing market has made a “sprightly” start to 2013, with big monthly leaps of around 5% recorded in the North West of England, a property search website said.
Prices jumped by 2.8% month-on-month to reach £235,741 on average, with asking prices reaching their highest levels for February since 2008, Rightmove said.
Prices are 1.1% higher than a year ago and are just £2,115 shy of a February record set in 2008, showing the market is making a “slow but steady recovery,” the study said.
Rightmove also reported that it recorded its busiest ever month in January, in a further sign that activity in the market is gathering pace.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “There has been a sprightly start to 2013, and while market activity remains patchy across locations and property type, some agents are reporting their busiest new year since the onset of the credit crunch.”
There have been signs of the market picking up in recent months following the launch of Government schemes to kick-start mortgage lending and give people a leg up on to the property ladder.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) recently reported that lending to first-time buyers reached a five-year high in 2012.
All regions across England and Wales recorded month-on-month increases to asking prices.
Rightmove said that the large monthly price increases recorded in northern areas and Wales were effectively “rebounds” from large house price falls at a time when there were low numbers of properties on the market towards the end of last year.
The North West recorded the highest monthly increase at 5.2%, taking prices to £156,801.
However, prices in the region are still 1.8% lower than a year ago.