THE price of the average house in Swindon has risen by almost £10,000 over the past year as the market continues to surge.

The average property in the town is currently priced at £192,030, which is a five per cent annual increase, and £14,000 higher than the national average.

The new report into the state of the nation’s housing market, published by Nationwide Building Society yesterday, shows prices in London are soaring far in excess of the rest of the UK, with the average house in the capital now costing around £72,000 more than in 2007.

This has come as good news for local estate agents, who have seen an increase in first time buyers.

Colin Cox, director of Chappell estate agents on Victoria Road, said: “The last 12 months of trading has seen confidence returning to the market. It is always a mix of factors that contribute to that.”

Colin said foreign investment pricing people out of London had contributed to the price rise across the south.

“Large amounts of money coming into the country from abroad has stablised the expensive properties, especially in London,” he said. “Those people have then moved out to more peripheral areas with lots of cash.

“It can be about a 10 or 15 year cycle of ups and downs, and they vary in intensity. We have kept it neat and tidy, and have survived with old clients coming back. I am indebted to those people I have worked with.”

Ross Sutton, director of Richard James estate agents, was cautious about too fast a rise in prices.

“The last six months have been reasonably busy,” he said.

“The start of the year is normally a bit quieter, and has usually seen a reduction in stock levels. Not a lot of people were going to market at the time, but recently it has been very busy.

“Interest rates are still low and there are a lot more first time buyers, which is a great thing to see.

“Organic growth is the key to any sustainable market. The reality of any averages is that across any local area there are massive variations.

“Over the last six years, while the market has been very depressed, a lot of first time buyers have had an opportunity to save a decent deposit. Although prices are rising people are better equipped to raise a mortgage.

“I would not want it to grow too fast too soon because that will make it too difficult for first time buyers to enter the market.”

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: “Although all regions saw house price growth in the first quarter, ten of the 13 regions have yet to surpass their pre-crisis peaks. London, the Outer Metropolitan and the Outer South East are the exceptions.”

Neil Parker, of Swindon Mortgage Solutions, said: “There has been an upturn in activity, since about September last year.

“It could be that people have managed to save up enough money over the last few years and are making their moves now. First time buyers seem to be a little bit more able to get the money together for a deposit.”