With surveyors reporting recentlythat house sales have increased for four months in a row there are sure signs that confidence in the housing market is slowly but surely returning.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has reported that more surveyors said sales rose rather than fell in January. This continues a general trend of sales increasing for the last four consecutive months.

At Hicks Hadley we have seen a positive start to the year with an unexpectedly high number of applicants registering with us which has in turn led to more viewings. This is certainly encouraging given the recent spate of bad weather we’ve had.

We always see a strong rise in sales towards Spring and I don’t expect this year to be any different. This means that now is an excellent time to take advantage of this greater activity by putting your house on the market.

The Office of National Statistics has also reported an overall rise in house prices over the last year nationwide which is further evidence that things are looking up and our recent experience is in line with a study by property analysts Hometrack, which said that prices were broadly flat month-on-month in January but estate agents have already seen signs of uplifts in sales this year.

This sentiment is further echoed by Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, who recently said: “Price falls across the UK have gradually stemmed in recent months and it is interesting to see that the amount of completed transactions are on the rise, as confidence returns to the marketplace.”

As many people are aware first time buyers have had somewhat of a tough time recently but mortgage lenders are now competing harder for business so flexible products are becoming available. An example of one of these products is Barclays' recently-launched “family springboard” mortgage for people with a 5% deposit. There is also a selection of fee-free deals from the Co-op.

Given the positive start to the year that we have had at Hicks Hadley I remain optimistic about the prospects of the local market in the coming months. I believe that there’s no better time to get your paintbrushes out and start the renovations you’ve been putting off in order to get your home ready for sale.

SUE EVANS, Sales Manager, Hicks Hadley