The price of a typical UK home climbed to a record high of £265,312 in March, according to an index.
The average price has increased by more than £33,000 in the past year, the Nationwide Building Society said.
In March 2021, the average UK house price was £232,134.
Property values grew by 14.3% annually – the strongest pace of increase since 2004.
Nationwide said it is becoming harder for homeowners to trade up, with price gaps between different property types moving to a record high.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “March saw a further acceleration in annual house price growth to 14.3%, the strongest pace of increase since November 2004.
“Prices rose by 1.1% month on month, after taking account of seasonal effects, the eighth consecutive monthly increase.
“The price of a typical UK home climbed to a new record high of £265,312, with prices increasing by over £33,000 in the past year. Prices are now 21% higher than before the pandemic struck in early 2020.
“The housing market has retained a surprising amount of momentum given the mounting pressure on household budgets and the steady rise in borrowing costs.
“The number of mortgages approved for house purchase remained high in February at around 71,000, nearly 10% above pre-pandemic levels. A combination of robust demand and limited stock of homes on the market has kept upward pressure on prices.
“The continued buoyancy of housing demand may in part be explained by strong labor market conditions. The unemployment rate has continued to trend down in recent months from already low levels. Wage growth has accelerated, though it is running below inflation.
“The significant savings accrued during lockdowns is also likely to have helped prospective homebuyers raise a deposit. We estimate that households accrued an extra (around) £190 billion of deposits over and above the pre-pandemic trend since early 2020, due to the impact of Covid on spending patterns.
“This is equivalent to around £6,500 per household, although it is important to note that these savings were not evenly spread, with older, wealthier households accruing more of the increase.
“Nevertheless, we still think that the housing market is likely to slow in the quarters ahead.
“The squeeze on household incomes is set to intensify, with inflation expected to rise further, perhaps reaching double digits in the quarters ahead if global energy prices remain high.
“Moreover, assuming that labor market conditions remain strong, the Bank of England is likely to raise interest rates further, which will also exert a drag on the market if this feeds through to mortgage rates.”
Nationwide said the average value of a detached home has increased by £68,000 since early 2020, while the average price of a flat has increased by £24,000.
Mr Gardner said: “Consequently, it is becoming more difficult for existing homeowners to trade up, with the price gaps between different property types now at a record high.
“This is particularly acute for those looking to move from flats to terraced houses, where the price gap has more than doubled since the onset of the pandemic (from around £12,000 to over £25,000).”
Nationwide’s figures also show Scotland recorded a 12% year-on-year rise in house prices in the first quarter of this year, marking the strongest rate of growth since the third quarter of 2007.
Alex Lyle, director of estate agency Antony Roberts, said: “Prices continue to rise in the family house market in particular, with large numbers of viewings, multiple offers and sealed bid scenarios all common. Ambitious or inflated pricing of flats means they can easily get stuck.”
Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: “Despite the exceptionally strong growth seen over the last year, a housing market slowdown is in the post.
“The cost-of-living squeeze and rising mortgage rates will undoubtedly take their toll on demand later this year. As we move beyond Covid and supply builds, this will also mean that house price growth becomes less eyebrow-raising.”
Meanwhile, economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics said that March probably marks the peak for house price growth.
Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter, said: “While house prices so far appear undeterred, the challenging circumstances we are currently facing may finally see the start of a slowdown.”
Mike Scott, chief analyst at estate agency Yopa, said: “The housing market cannot ignore the wider economy forever and we expect a slowdown in the second half of the year, but no significant falls in prices.”
Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker Coreco, said: “Yes, the jobs market is strong but the once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis and rising interest rates will almost certainly start to calm activity levels in the months ahead. However, average property values are unlikely to fail materially as mortgage rates are still very competitive and supply levels are obscenely low.”
Guy Gittins, CEO of Chestertons, said: “Not even half way into March we had already witnessed a spike in buyer inquiries and sales compared to the same time period last year.”
Jason Tebb, from property search website OnTheMarket.com, said: “As we approach Easter we’re seeing an uptick in new homes coming to market, as you’d expect for this time of year. However, this time around appetite from buyers is stronger as the historic lack of stock means demand is still outweighing supply.”
Here are average house prices in the first quarter of this year across the UK and the annual increase, according to Nationwide:
– Wales, £201,502, 15.3%
– South West, £300,936, 14.4%
– East Anglia, £277,332, 14.2%
– Yorkshire and the Humber, £199,235, 13.5%
– East Midlands, £227,275, 13.5%
– Outer South East (includes Ashford, Basingstoke and Deane, Bedford, Braintree, Brighton and Hove, Canterbury, Colchester, Dover, Hastings, Lewes, Fareham, Isle of Wight, Maldon, Milton Keynes, New Forest, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Swale, Tendring, Thanet, Uttlesford, Winchester, Worthing), £337,094, 12.8%
– North West, £204,511, 12.4%
– Scotland, £178,289, 12.0%
– West Midlands, £233,136, 11.7%
– Outer Metropolitan (includes St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, Luton, Maidstone, Reading, Rochford, Rushmoor, Sevenoaks, Slough, Southend-on-Sea, Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne , Waverley, Woking, Tunbridge Wells, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham), £422,428, 11.4%
– Northern Ireland, £171,095, 11.1%
– North East, £153,029, 10.6%
– London, £518,333, 7.4%