News that the property market is on the rise may not surprise you – if you are based in London. What may come as a shock is that house prices are moving up outside the capital too. Recent official figures show that the UK housing market has “turned a corner”.

The West Midlands leads the way with a rise of 3.1% in the last 12 months, followed by the South East at 2.9%. The average price for the UK is now at £170,514, a hike of 3.5% according to Nationwide building society.

These figures lag behind London, which has leaped 8.1% in the same period, but are still good news.

There are a couple of reasons for this spurt in the housing market. First, there are the Government schemes such as Help to Buy. This scheme, which was launched in April, allows people to buy a property with only a 5% deposit. The state will lend buyers up to 20% of the value of a new home interest-free for five years.

Second, mortgage lending is great than it has been for five years. Figures from the Bank of England show that in June mortgage approvals reached their highest levels since March 2008.

Even more encouraging are reports that first-time buyers are hoisting themselves back onto the property ladder. Loans to first-time buyers between April and June accounted for 45% of all house purchase loans – the highest percentage since records began in 2005.

With consumer confidence on the up due to better employment and growth figures, we can expect prices to carry on rising – and not just in London.