The number of people actively looking to acquire a residential property in rose to its highest level in five years, according to estate agents.
Latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents’ (NAEA) January housing market report showed that average number of house hunters registering with an agent increased from 281 in December 2012 to 314 in January. This is the highest figure since September 2007, when an average of 326 house hunters was recorded.
The year has started on a strong note with a rise in the percentage of sales made to first time buyers. In January, this important part of the market hit its highest point in almost two years at 25 per cent of overall sales compared with 21 per cent in December, marking a two year high.
The increase in demand impacted the number of sales agreed, which rose from an average of five per branch to seven.
President of the NAEA Mark Hayward, said: “These latest results reflect a wider upturn in the market at the start of what we hope will be a better year for UK property. The strong number of enquiries during January suggests the financial barriers that have plagued the market for so many years may be beginning to ease as banks increasingly look at new ways to assist buyers.
“Strong financial results from some of the country’s leading house builders this week suggest a growing confidence that some form of a recovery is beginning to take shape.”