Average house prices in the West Midlands inched up to £174,002 in August with a month-on-month increase of 1.8 per cent, according to Government figures.

That came as the average UK figure edged closer to the £200,000 threshold with a jump of 1.6 per cent.

New data from the Department for Communities and Local Government found the average property price for the month stood at £197,631, up from July's total of £194,454.

However, in West Midlands the average house price rose from £170,966 in July to £174,002 in August.

House price inflation was at its lowest in the East Midlands (4.4 per cent) followed by the West Midlands (5.9 per cent) and the East (6.4 per cent).

London and the South-west saw the highest inflation rate (both 7.9 per cent)followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (7.3 per cent), North-east and South-east (both 7.2 per cent), North-west (seven per cent).

The London increase pushed the average price for a home in the capital up to £286,369. The lowest average price was in the North East, with the typical property costing £142,901, less than half that of the capital.

The average cost of a home for first time buyers jumped by 1.7 per cent during August to £152,172, with annual house price inflation for first time buyers set at just under seven per cent, up from 5.6 per cent on the previous month. Commenting on the latest figures, Milan Khatri, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said it showed August had been a strong month for the property market, with the annual inflation rate at its highest since March 2005.

He added: "First-time buyer house prices rose at a slightly slower pace of 6.9 per cent but were well ahead of average earnings which will stretch affordability for buyers.

"However, with the economy growing firmly and households viewing their finances as strong, the housing market will remain robust in the coming months."