New buyer enquiries, agreed sales and new instructions all fell in January, according to the latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However, the number of surveyors reporting price rises actually rose by 2% in January.

RICS says most surveyors view the stall in activity as temporary, and remain optimistic with respect to future activity levels while stock seems to have increased by 3.5% in January.

The recovery, such as it is, continues to be driven by London, the South East and the South West while in Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside and the North, surveyors were still reporting falling prices.

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Stuart T Allan, a surveyor from Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham commented: ‘The market is showing some signs of improvement in terms of numbers of property valued after a spell of low interest during the snowy period. Difficulties in obtaining mortgages and very cautious mortgage valuers have slowed down the market.’

RICS spokesman Ian Perry said: ‘The cold snap in January clearly has a huge impact upon both supply and demand in the housing market with activity coming to a halt amidst the seasonal chaos.

‘Activity and interest is likely to pick up in the coming months as the market experiences a spring bounce. House prices are likely to rise in the short term, but if more supply continues to come on to the market it is possible that it will run out of steam in the latter part of the year.’

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