The number of homes built by private construction firms has increased year-on-year by 29 per cent in the three months to the end of September, according to data from the Housebuilders Federation.

The construction of 28,580 homes was initiated in Q3, the highest number since the start of 2008.

This, together with news that the Council of Mortgage Lenders expects more than one million housing transactions to take place over 2013 – the highest level since 2007 – is fuelling optimism in the housing market.

Official data suggest that the key driving force for this rejuvenation is the government’s Help to Buy scheme. During the six months to September, 5,400 new homes were purchased – a period that coincides with the launch of Help to Buy. 92 per cent of these purchases were made by first time buyers.

Under Help to Buy, the average property sale price was £194,000, while equity loans averaged £38,700.

The Help to Buy scheme had the highest uptake in Leeds, Wiltshire and Milton Keynes.

As always, London’s house prices are significantly higher than the rest of the UK, and despite the challenges of the economic crisis have increased by 24 per cent since 2007.

The UK’s biggest property firms continue to see London as a safe bet, with over £3bn of investment being lined up for property in the capital – according to data from Green Street Advisors.

But while London prices surge ahead, and other cities enjoy modest rises, properties in rural areas have seen a decline over the past few years. This is particularly the case for larger properties; a country house that was valued at £1m in 2007 is now more likely to be worth £800,000. However, in recent months, improvements have been seen in the country too.

All this is good news for those who have had a property on the market for a long time (perhaps some of our unoccupied property insurance customers among them), who may now see many more people with the financial backing to make a purchase.