UK property prices rose by 5.2 per cent in the 12 months to December 2017, up from 5 per cent the previous month, taking the average value to £226,756, according to data from the Land Registry.

In England prices rose by 5 per cent year on year taking the average price to £244,000, in Wales prices shot up by 5.4 per cent to £154,000, in Scotland prices increased by 7.7 per cent to an average of £149,000 and in Northern Ireland prices climbed by 4.3 per cent to £130,000.

The regional data for England shows that the South West recorded the biggest rise in average property price over the last 12 months, up by 7.5 per cent while the North East recorded the largest monthly price rise at 2.7 per cent.

In Scotland the most expensive area to live in was Edinburgh where the cost of an average house was £248,000; whereas the cheapest area to purchase a property was East Ayrshire, where an average house cost £94,000.

Jonathan hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “Two key catalysts have injected momentum into what is steadily becoming a more free-flowing market: December’s subtle improvement in sentiment around Britain’s economic prospects and the fear that interest rate rises will end the era of cheap finance sooner than expected.

“Together these forces have prompted a number of would-be buyers to get off the fence and commit to moving in 2018.

“As a result the market dynamics are shifting. Whereas in 2017 constrained demand allowed the limited number of buyers to make all the running, this year the pendulum appears to be swinging back to create a more balanced market.”