The monthly Rightmove house price index has found asking prices for homes in England and Wales rose at their fastest annual rate in over two years between November and December.
Average prices were 13 per cent higher than the previous year – although on a month-by-month basis they fell 0.3 per cent.
This puts the rate of annual increase in prices at its highest since October 2004.
Rightmove analysis attributed the slight month-on-month fall to the tendency to sell just before Christmas.
"The strength of the housing market in 2006 has exceeded everyone's expectations," remarked commercial director Miles Shipside.
London leads the rise, with home prices in the nation's capital soaring by 23.6 per cent on the same period in 2005.
The capital-centric trend is put down to the coming bonus season for City bankers, as well as to demand from Russian investors for housing in the fashionable Kensington & Chelsea and Hampstead districts.
The property price analysts' predictions for 2007 are more modest, however – Rightmove expects national asking prices will rise by only six per cent over the coming year.For more information about investment property, click here.
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