THE biggest rise in house hunters has been recorded as the property market started to show flickers of life, the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors report showed.
Improving mortgage rates and a slight boost to confidence delivered an upturn in property market activity which was reported in October, RICS members reported.
Its member agents say they have seen the biggest rise in new buyer inquiries since December 2009, with 18 per cent more reporting rising rather than falling inquiries, up from 5 per cent the previous month.
Its report followed Halifax figures showing prices continuing their two year slide and heading back towards the recent lows seen in 2009, as its index dipped 0.7 per cent in October and recorded a 1.7 per cent annual fall.
ONS figures, on the other hand, show prices inching up, with a 1.7 per cent annual rise in September, despite a 0.2 per cent monthly fall.
Its report is based on Council of Mortgage Lenders mortgage completion data.
Its findings echo the Land Registry's transaction-based report, which showed property prices in England and Wales up 1.1 per cent to an average of £162,561 in the year to September.
Mortgage rates have fallen in recent months, driven by the Bank of England's Funding For Lending scheme pushing cheap money through banks and building societies to borrowers. This provides cheap funding to lenders and encourages them to increase or maintain their mortgage books.
The biggest benefit has been seen by those with large deposits, but borrowers with less to put down are also seeing rates fall.
Experts hope that if Funding For Lending can drive down mortgage costs for those with small deposits across the board, it should boost the property market.