The number of people looking to buy and sell properties in the UK soared during the first two weeks of 2011, new official figures have revealed.
A survey of almost 700 estate agents conducted by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) showed that that nearly two thirds (59 per cent) reported a higher-than expected level of house hunters registering with them in the first two weeks of January.
Just over a quarter (26 per cent) said that enquiries from potential buyers were consistent with the average for January, while only 14 per cent said things were worse than expected for this time of year.
Similarly, the research revealed a surge in activity among potential property sellers over the two weeks, with 45 per cent of NAEA members reporting an increase in enquiries from homeowners looking to sell up. Over a third (36 per cent) of respondents said that figures remained steady.
NAEA president Mike Jones said: "The results of this latest survey would seem to indicate a renewed confidence in the housing market as we begin 2011."
"It is encouraging to see that the majority of our agents are noting an upturn on both the buyer and seller sides and those that didnt are still reporting steady figures consistent with January of last year."
He added: "The market appears to have experienced a jump start to 2011. We are hopeful that this strong start to the year will continue into February."