House prices rise by 7.5% in Northern Ireland in 12 months, according to ONS report
House prices in Northern Ireland rose by 7.5% in the past 12 months and by 9.6% cross the majority of the UK, according to figures published by the Office of National Statistics
Property values also jumped by 1.1% between February and March, taking prices across the UK to £273,000 on average, the ONS report said.
Within the figures, property prices in Scotland have increased by 14.6% over the last year, marking the strongest annual growth recorded there since July 2007.
Average house prices in Northern Ireland, property values are still around 45% below their 2007 levels.
The report said that overall in March "the pace of annual house price growth increased across the majority of the UK".
The pace of annual house price inflation picked up from 7.4% in February to 9.6% in March, marking the first acceleration seen since September 2014.
Andrew Montlake, director at Coreco Mortgage Brokers, said: "These latest figures show that house prices are gathering pace once more, which will dismay many first-time buyers anxiously hoping that prices would stabilise at the very least. With a post-election surge of activity in the housing market expected, more stock is needed, especially in high-demand areas, to avoid further rises."
Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, said: "The new Government must get down to business with a big, bold plan that will finally build the homes this country so desperately needs."
At £207,000 on average, house prices in Scotland have climbed to a new index record, according to the ONS.
The report said the number of mortgages for house sales in Scotland increased by around 50% between February and March and a significant portion of these were for houses costing more than £500,000.
The ONS report said: "It should also be noted that the land and buildings transaction tax replaced (the) UK stamp duty land tax in Scotland from 1 April 2015, which may have had an impact on the increase in prices."
The strong upswing in house price growth north of the border meant that Scottish house prices have grown at a faster rate than those in southern England over the last year.
The annual pace of growth has picked up across the majority of the English regions, with the East recording the largest annual increase in prices within England at 11.4%, followed by London and the South East, which both recorded year-on-year price growth of 11.2%.
Like Scotland, house prices across England also reached a new index high in March, increasing by 9.4% over the last year to reach £284,000 on average.
Several English regions hit new index highs in March, including the East of England, the South East and the South West.
London continues to have the highest average house price in the UK-wide index, at £498,000.
Yorkshire and the Humber was the region to record the weakest annual house price growth, at 4.4%.
In Wales, values have increased by 5.7% over the last year to reach £173,000 on average. In Northern Ireland, prices saw a 7.5% annual uplift, taking typical values to £145,000.
The figures also show that the average first-time buyer faces paying 7.8% more for a property than they did a year ago, with the typical starter home costing £206,000 in March.