Northern Ireland house prices up almost 3%
Average of £151,000 makes Northern Ireland homes most affordable in UK
The average house price in Northern Ireland hit £151,000 in August - a jump of nearly 3% in a year - official figures show.
But that figure is still 43% lower than their 2007 peak, according to the latest house price figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The £151,000 average house price makes Northern Ireland the most affordable region in the UK.
Leading local estate agent Simon Brien, of Simon Brien Residential, said it was a very positive sign of market recovery.
"People are trading up, and there is strong demand at all price levels," Mr Brien said.
"New developments are beginning to come through strongly, and we are now again seeing people ready to buy properties 'off-plan'. Things are returning to normal after the boom and bust of the last decade.
"Demand has been stronger in the east of Northern Ireland, with hotspots in east Belfast, south Belfast and north Down."
The average house price in Northern Ireland in July was actually £3,000 higher - £154,000. However, compared to August last year, prices are up 2.9%.
Taking the UK as a whole, the ONS said house prices surged to a record peak of £284,000 on average in August after climbing by £2,000 month-on-month.
Property values in parts of northern England are now rising at a faster annual pace than those in London.
Across the UK, house prices are 5.2% higher than a year ago.
A typical first-time buyer faces paying 3.8% more than they would have done a year earlier, with the average price paid for a starter home now at £215,000.
At £298,000 on average, house prices across England are at an all-time high, after increasing by 5.6% over the last year.
But house prices in Scotland are still below the record levels seen there in March, standing at £198,000 typically after dipping by 0.9% .
In Wales, property values are also below their record level seen in January, standing at £174,000 on average in August after edging up by 0.8% annually.
In London, prices increased by 4.2% in the 12 months to August, while in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber they increased at faster rates of 4.7% and 4.8% respectively.
At £186,000 on average, house prices in Yorkshire and the Humber surpassed their pre-economic downturn peak reached in 2008 for the first time in August.
As well as Yorkshire and the Humber, house prices also hit new records in the North West, the East of England, the South East of England and the South West of England in August.
While London still has the most expensive property prices, at £522,000 on average, they are slightly down compared with July, the ONS said.
The North East of England is the only English region where house prices have yet to surpass their 2008 peak.