However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) warned that any recovery in the market remains very fragile, with prices continuing to fall in most of the country. It said that 4% more surveyors reported price falls than price rises in January, compared with 1% the month before. The biggest falls were in Yorkshire and the West Midlands. The figures tie in with January’s house price report by Halifax, which said prices fell by 0.2% over the month.
But Rics said that the number of newly agreed sales is rising, with a net balance of 15% stating that levels of sales are up. Transactions have now risen for four consecutive months, said Rics.
But there is little sign yet of the much-heralded return of the first-time buyer. The government-backed Funding for Lending scheme is credited with reducing mortgage rates of low-deposit loans, but Rics said demand from would-be purchasers fell back in January.
Many contributors said that the rental market remained much stronger than the sales market.
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