The number of homes changing hands in the Midlands soared by more than a third as the property market showed signs of picking up, figures revealed today.
A total of 19,671 properties were sold in the region during the three months to the end of March, 37 per cent more than in the same period in 2005, according to the Land Registry.
The average price of a property in the West Midlands went up by almost #7,000 to #158,343, while the national average was #192,745.
But the 4.49 per cent regional increase was lower than the national 5.05 per cent rise and half the 10.27 per cent increase for the same January to March period last year.
At the same time the number of properties sold for more than #1 million nearly doubled, rising from 655 nationwide in the first quarter of 2005 to 1,032 in the same period this year - the equivalent of more than ten a day.
The revival in the market is being driven by London, with the number of sales in the capital soaring by 40.7 per cent to 29,241, with 652 homes changing hands for more than #1 million.
Harvey Williams, Midlands spokesman for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, said: "Spring is upon us and I think the market now reflects the conditions.
"While climate doesn't affect property prices, it does affect the state of mind, and buoyancy is returning to the housing market."
Meanwhile, a growing desire for holiday homes and an influx of city workers buying properties in the countryside is ruining traditional rural communities, it has been claimed. More than 13,000 affordable homes are needed in the rural areas of the West Midlands in the next five years if villages and market towns are to retain their social fabric, the Commission for Rural Communities said.
It highlighted an influx of property owners from Birmingham and London into areas such as the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire, which had contributed to soaring house prices and forced local people to look for homes elsewhere.
The CRC is calling on the Government to invest more money into solving the crisis and to relax planning laws to enable more homes to be built.
The report was published today as the Government's housing agency, the Housing Corporation, announced it was ploughing #23.7 million into building 490 homes in the West Midlands over the next three years.