House prices increased by 6.8% in January 2014 compared with a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics .
The ONS said prices grew by 7.1% in England, 6.9% in Wales, 1.4% in Scotland and 2.7% in Northern Ireland.
In January 2014, prices paid by first-time buyers were 7.6% higher on average than in January 2013.
For existing owners, prices increased by 6.5% for the same period.
Wages should begin to grow with the economy, setting the stage for living standards to improve, but there is a lot of ground to make up.
Figures on rising private sector wages are politically explosive and could change the debate on the economy.