House prices in the South East have risen by 4.5 per cent in a year, figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown.
It is the highest annual rise outside of London, and only slightly below the UK average rise of 5.4 per cent.
The figures, released this morning, compare house prices from November 2013 and November 2012.
The average house price in the South East is now £169,900, compared to £162,600.
Research by property services group Countrywide, also released today, shows buyer numbers are continuing to rise.
There was an average of 9.7 buyers chasing every property coming on to the market in November 2013, compared to 8.5 in November 2012, 7.1 in November 2010 and 6.5 in November 2008, property services group Countrywide said.
The lettings market has also remained strong, with an average of 10.4 prospective tenants per property.
The group, which predicted 5 per cent growth in house prices this year due to a ripple effect outwards from central London, said first time buyers are becoming an increasingly concentrated group, in terms of age.
It expects that by 2023 the proportion of first time buyers aged between 25 and 44 will have risen to 87 per cent, from 67 per cent in 2003.
Tenants who have not bought a property by the time they reach their early 40s are thought increasingly unlikely to do so.
Chief executive Grenville Turner said: ‘We expect the proportion of buyers aged between 25 and 44 to grow to encompass 87 per cent of all first time buyers by 2023, up from 67 per cent in 2003.
‘The number of first time buyers aged 25 and under is expected to fall by a third due to increased levels of student debt and a greater proportion of younger people renting.
‘Despite this, we still expect that one in 10 first time buyers in 2023 will be aged 25 and under and supported in the main by the Bank of Mum and Dad.’
Confidence has grown among house builders and this has translated into 24% more new homes being built over the past 15 months - the highest level since 2007, the review said.