The negativity over the future of house prices in the UK appears to be lifting, new figures have revealed.
While opinion is still split among property professionals about house prices, many now expect a rise rather than a decline.
It marks a notable turnaround in sentiment compared with January when a net balance of 14% of surveyors said they thought prices would fall, research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed.
It is the first time since May 2010 that respondents have not been predicting further price declines.
RICS said that the recent increase in first time buyers – driven by the end of the stamp duty holiday on 24 March – has improved the outlook for the housing market.
Furthermore, surveyors have reported an increase in the number of homes they are selling.
Alongside this, transaction levels continued to edge up with the average amount of sales per surveyor (by branch) moving up to 16, an increase of almost four percent on last month's figure of 15.7.
Although still historically low, this is the most positive reading since September 2010 and suggests that the improvement in activity seen in recent months is continuing.
"With the recent upturn in activity brought on by the end of the stamp duty holiday, it seems that a renewed sense of optimism may be slowly returning to the property market," Alan Collett, RICS housing spokesperson, commented.
"Chartered surveyors' price predictions were more optimistic in almost every area of the country in February.
"However, with affordable mortgage finance still out of reach for many potential first time buyers, it remains to be seen whether the more optimistic outlook for future sales can be sustained beyond the expiry of the stamp duty holiday."
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