Those looking to sell their home are getting increasingly confident in terms of the price they'll get, with the latest House Price Index from Rightmove showing that house sellers' asking prices have risen by a significant 4% since November 2012 – marking the biggest annual rise since before the financial crisis hit.
This is despite prices falling by 2.4% month-on-month with the second phase of Help to Buy (H2B) still not averting the usual pre-Christmas slump, but a high annual increase would indicate a more confident, buoyant market that's getting back on track.
According to the Index the average house price now stands at £246,237, down from £252,418 in October. Perhaps surprisingly, asking prices in Londonaren't bucking the monthly trend – they've actually fallen by 5% this month, albeit from a strong starting point and a price rise of 10.2% during October.
Meanwhile there's some good news for first-time buyers. Despite price rises for flats and terraced houses (both prime housing types for first-time buyers) being above-average there hasn't been a reduction in properties, with availability in this sector actually being stronger than for any other property type.
Overall, however, the amount of available housing is falling. The imbalance between supply and demand is an ever-growing concern with the number of properties per estate agency falling to 67, down from 71 this time last year, indicating that prices could continue to rise as there aren't enough properties to go round.
This fear is echoed by the fact that traffic to Rightmove since H2B's October launch date has increased by 30% compared to the same period in 2012, perhaps hinting at an increased desire to move – and meaning potential homebuyers will need to act fast if they want to snap up a bargain, as the house price boom is only expected to continue.
But, that doesn't mean you should rush in.
"Talk of housing bubbles tends to cause panic amongst home buyers as they feel even more pressure to buy quickly. It's important to remember that buying a house is one of the most expensive money transactions you will commit to, so don't get caught up in the hype and stress.
"Make a list of the things you want from your new home and keep it in mind when viewing. Don't rush in because you think deals will disappear or that you can make do without things on your list – deals change rather than disappear and a home is for a long time, so it has to be right."
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