House sellers' asking prices have soared to a new high, in further signs of confidence returning to the market, a property website has reported.
A 2.1% month-on-month rise pushed average prices to £249,841 this month, with new record prices set in London, the South East and East Anglia, according to Rightmove.
This has been the strongest start to the year since 2004 in terms of asking prices, with average prices rising by 9.1% or more than £20,000 in 2013 so far, the website said.
London asking prices surged past the half a million pound milestone for the first time this month, standing at £509,870 typically.
As well as being more than double the national average, asking prices in London were 8.6% higher than a year ago.
Prices rose month-on-month in every region across England and Wales. The North saw the strongest monthly increase, with a 4.2% rise pushing typical asking prices to £152,689.
East Anglia saw the second strongest month-on-month growth, with a 4% rise taking average prices to £233,447. Asking prices in the South East lifted to £325,489 typically and the region saw the second highest annual price growth after London, at 3.7%.
Yorkshire and Humberside and the East Midlands were the only regions where prices were lower this month compared with a year ago, dropping by 1.1% and 0.6% respectively. Asking prices in Wales rose by 1% month-on-month to £171,824 typically.
The new national peak is around £3,600 higher than a previous high recorded in June last year and the report adds to several studies which have pointed to seller confidence lifting amid signs that home buyers are finding it easier to get access to a mortgage.
In a further indication that activity is lifting, Rightmove said traffic levels to its website have risen by more than one fifth compared with a year ago, with property hunters getting through 1.25 billion pages in April, which is a record for the website.