April 17 2014 Latest news:

The prolonged period of wintry weather in December and the New Year resulted in slower than expected monthly house sales in January, but there was a notable hike in the number of properties being put on the market.

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House sales in January fell by 4.7pc compared to the number sold in December, a similar picture to the previous winter when very cold weather disrupted house viewings resulting in a low number of sales in January.

The latest Agency Express Property Activity Index shows some encouraging news as the number of properties on which sales were agreed was still up 25.7pc on January 2010 and 13.4pc on January 2009.

However the really positive news for the market was the 51.5pc increase in the amount of properties that were put up ‘For Sale’. This is up 34.3pc on last January and 25.7pc up on January 2009.

Stephen Watson, managing director of Agency Express, which provides a nationwide ‘For Sale’ board service for estate agencies, said: “The severe snow conditions experienced up and down the country from mid-December into the New Year put a lot of people’s home buying plans on hold.

“Last year we saw a bumper month in February as the activity that was postponed from January came through.

“We can certainly expect to see the same pattern occur this year.

“Although there are a still a lot of questions to be asked about the state of the economy, the prospects for interest rates and inflation and the impact they will have on the housing market, when you see that the number of properties being put on the market and houses being sold being significantly above the previous two Januarys, it does indicate that confidence is returning to the market.”

Mr Watson said he expected 2011 to be a better year than 2010.

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