Average UK house prices rose 1.4 per cent in January to £292,000, according to the latest Office for National Statistics House Price Index.
Annual house price inflation was 8.6 per cent in England, -0.3 per cent in Wales, 0.1 per cent in Scotland and 0.8 per cent in Northern Ireland.
Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the South East, where property values rose 11.7 per cent.
In London, prices rose 10.8 per cent, and the East of the country saw 9.8 per cent rises.
In January 2016, prices paid by first-time buyers were 7.7 per cent higher on average than in January 2015.
For owner-occupiers, prices increased by 8 per cent for the same period.
House prices rose 6.7 per cent in the year to December 2015.
Legal & General Housing Partnerships director Stephen Smith says: “House prices continue their steady upwards march – as they are likely to do for some time unless Britain can address the lack of housing supply in this country.
“With the cost of owning a home continuing to rise well above both earnings and inflation, the gap between supply and demand is pumping up prices and making ‘affordability’ an impossible dream for many – especially in London and the South East.”
Oblix Capital chief executive Rishi Passi says: “Behind the scenes, an imbalance between supply and demand has been squeezing the bottom end of the market, which together with a rush to beat the April stamp duty rise, has driven up prices and stretched affordability for those taking their first step on the housing ladder.”