Confidence appears to be returning to the property market, according to Hamptons, and their forecast of a ?soft landing? appears to be on course.

According to the estate agents, the number of new buyers registering increased by 18% over November, and the continued lack of good properties for sale seems to be holding up prices.

?There has been a drop in property stock for sale. With stock tightening and demand increasing we anticipate that prices will stabilise for the time being,? said Marc Goldberg, London Sales Director.

The top end of the market is performing especially well, Hamptons said, despite the reported slowdown: ?Our statistics tell us that viewings, sales agreed and contracts exchanged remains broadly at similar levels to last year and in some respects are much better. Sales in the second half of the year are up by 41%,? said Martin Chester from Hamptons Thames Valley & Chilterns Country Houses.

Hamptons anticipates resurgence in activity early next year, although the expected Election could dampen the market: ?Things are looking good for the New Year, but my best advice would be to instruct an agent to commence marketing as soon as possible after Christmas before too many other houses come to the market, thus diluting the current strong demand,? said John Little, Hamptons Country House Director, Cirencester.