New buyer inquiries increased for the third month in a row in November, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the first time the market has enjoyed such an extended period of demand growth since spring 2010.
There were further encouraging signs, as the number of newly agreed sales rose at a faster rate than the previous month and the average number of sales per surveyor increased to its highest level since September 2010.
But RICS warned that economic uncertainty continued to hold the market back from any meaningful recovery, while the lack of mortgage finance and fears of further house price falls also acted as a drag.
RICS housing spokesperson Alan Collett said: “It is encouraging that buyer interest has edged upwards in the face of the endless diet of negative news from Europe and the turmoil in financial markets. However, a meaningful recovery still seems some way off.”
The survey suggested house prices continued to fall, although at a slower rate than in the previous month with all regions seeing declining trends apart from London.
The most negative price readings were recorded in Yorkshire and Humberside, where a balance of 44pc reported falls, followed by West Midlands and Northern Ireland.
However, some three-fifths of surveyors said house prices had not changed over the month and of those reporting a fall the vast majority said it had been less than 2pc.
The increase in demand was being matched by rising supply, leading to broadly stable prices, the report added.
Mr Collett welcomed the mortgage indemnity scheme announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement last month but said its focus on the new build sector meant that it would only offer support to a relatively small part of the market.
The trend in newly agreed sales was positive in all regions apart from Scotland, where there was a small fall. It is possible that sales volumes in Scotland could turn positive in the new year after an increase in new buyer enquiries.