The number of house sales in the UK increased 3% to 106,480 in August – the highest monthly total since February 2014, when the introduction of the Government's Help to Buy scheme boosted sales to 109,030, according to the Halifax house price index. Average property prices are up 8.6% to £202,859 in the year to September. However, month-on-month they dropped 0.9% from August. Martin Ellis of Halifax commented on the figures: "Housing demand has been strengthening recently, underpinned by economic growth, rising real earnings and very low mortgage rates. Increasing demand is combining with very low supply to drive robust underlying house price growth." He added: "There is little reason to expect any fundamental shift in the key market drivers over the coming months."