Average asking prices for property have risen by more than £20,000 so far this year, a website says.
House sellers’ asking prices have soared to a new high, in further signs of confidence returning to the market, according to Right move.
A 2.1pc month-on-month rise pushed average prices to £249,841 this month, with new record prices set in London, the South East and East Anglia.
This has been the strongest start to the year since 2004 in terms of asking prices, with average prices rising by 9.1pc, or more than £20,000, so far this year, the website said.
London asking prices surged past the half a million pound milestone for the first time this month, standing at a typical £509,870.
As well as being more than double the national average, asking prices in London were 8.6pc higher than a year ago.
Prices rose month-on-month in every region across England and Wales. The North saw the strongest monthly increase, with a 4.2pc rise pushing typical asking prices to £152,689.
East Anglia saw the second strongest month-on-month growth, with a 4pc rise taking average prices to £233,447. Asking prices in the South East lifted to £325,489 typically and the region saw the second highest annual price growth after London, at 3.7pc.
Yorkshire and Humberside and the East Midlands were the only regions where prices were lower this month compared with a year ago, dropping by 1.1pc and 0.6pc respectively. Asking prices in Wales rose by 1pc month-on-month to £171,824 typically.
The new national peak is around £3,600 higher than a previous high recorded in June last year and the report adds to several studies that have pointed to seller confidence lifting amid signs that home buyers are finding it easier to get access to a mortgage.
In a further indication that activity is lifting, Right move said traffic levels to its website have risen by more than one fifth compared with a year ago, with property hunters getting through 1.25 billion pages in April, which is a record for the website.
The number of mortgages on the market has increased sharply and lenders have slashed their rates since a Government scheme called Funding for Lending was introduced last August.
Other initiatives called New Buy and Help to Buy are specifically aimed at giving people with smaller deposits a helping hand.
Lenders have reported that more would-be buyers are making the jump onto the property ladder, which is expected to free up some stuck housing chains in the coming months.
Another reason for sellers’ willingness and ability to stand firm on price appears to be a shortage of homes up for sale at a time when the appetite from buyers is increasing.
Right move said this is creating “pent-up demand”, with 3pc fewer properties coming to market this year than in the first five months of 2012.
Miles Ship side, director of Right move, said the new records were being driven by “a definite southern bias”, although estate agents in most parts of the country are reporting a strengthening of demand.
The study quoted an estate agent in London, which has had strong interest from overseas buyers, describing activity levels as “ridiculous”.