New buyer enquiries are up for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), while the sales to stock ratio has edged upwards for the third successive month to stand at its best level since August 2008.

These positive indicators are being welcomed, although RICS is quick to point out that the market still has a way to go to recovery, as the balance of surveyors reporting a fall rather than a rise in prices still stands at 73.1, the best since February 2008 but still a deeply negative figure.

More importantly, the report states, the levels of new buyer enquiries are now finally feeding through into sales, as newly agreed sales rose in March, as did the average sales per surveyor. However, new instructions are still declining, albeit more gently, and this drop in stock is bound to affect prices in coming months.

John  Pocock from Cambridge said: ‘February seemed to indicate a substantial increase in activity from buyers. March has shown that this was not a blip in the equation, and we now feel confident that the market has turned around even to the extent that in many instances there are several offers for the same house and, in some cases, serious competition.

‘At last buyer confidence in the future of the market seems to have returned. Those ‘cash’ buyers hoping to find a bargain are unlikely to be lucky,’ he continued.

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