UK house prices increased by 7.6% in the year to February 2016, down from 7.9% in the year to January 2016.
House price annual inflation was 8.2% in England, 2.8% in Wales, -0.8% in Scotland and 2.4% in Northern Ireland.
Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the South East (11.4%), the East (10.3%) and London (9.7%).
Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.0% in the 12 months to February 2016.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.4% between January 2016 and February 2016.
In February 2016, prices paid by first-time buyers were 8.0% higher on average than in February 2015.
For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 7.4% for the same period.
Rob Weaver, director of Investments at property crowdfunding platform Property Partner, comments:
“Despite a slight softening in the housing market, hard-pressed first-time buyers are still feeling the pinch, with average prices paid by them (£214,000), racing ahead faster than for other home buyers.
“Likewise, the rate of inflation on new builds is accelerating more than existing housing stock, suggesting demand is outstripping supply.
“Scotland saw a dip in average annual house prices perhaps reflecting the fallout of tumbling North Sea oil prices, with the Aberdeen property market particularly hard hit.
“Whereas England has outperformed all other nations in the Union with London and the South East at full throttle, driving the upward trend in the housing market.
“It’s a mixed bag in other regions with a stark reminder of the gaping north-south divide – you can buy three properties in the North East for the average prices you’d pay in London – an eye-watering £524,000.
“There’s a mood of uncertainty over the EU referendum in June which may put a dampener on prices, but with demand across the board so strong and supply so weak, rock-bottom interest rates and a buoyant jobs market, prices look set to continue their upward trajectory towards the second half of the year.”