Confidence returns to market as house prices increase.

 House prices showed an annual rise in all regions of the UK in May for the first time since January 2008, official figures show, as mortgage availability and confidence continued to grow.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that house prices increased by 0.3% in May, and were up by 2.9% on the previous year. It put the average price of a UK home at £239,00.

First-time buyers faced a bigger increase, paying 4.1% more for homes than in May 2012, and an average of £181,000.

The overall year-on-year increase recorded by the ONS reflected growth of 3.1% in England, 0.8% in Scotland, 0.6% in Wales and 1.9% in Northern Ireland – the first time since February 2008 that prices have risen there.

All regions of the UK saw price increases, but as has been the case for some months, increases in London outstripped those everywhere else.