THE number of house sales has increased for a third consecutive month, according to surveyors.
A total of 12 per cent more surveyors reported an increase in the number of newly-agreed sales in January, continuing the upward trend.
While the latest findings by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) gave cause for some optimism, prices remain “subdued”.
House prices continued to dip during January and are predicted to fall further over the next three months.
Overall, 26 per cent more respondents stated that prices fell rather than rose in the first month of the year.
Rics said it appears that the cautious recovery in prices seen in some parts of the UK has not yet translated to the Scottish market.
Chris Highton, of Allied Surveyors in the Borders, said: “The market seems to have started with a bit of a flourish after the Christmas break, with replacement home reports being instructed and new properties coming to the market, however prices still remain subdued in most cases.”
Greg Davidson, from Graham and Sibbald in Perth, told the survey there had been “some positive market activity already in 2013 as the new year brings a fresh appetite”.
He added: “I have seen good interest in new stock and am cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. Values are unlikely to change significantly but a slight increase in sales volumes is probable.”
Thomas Baird, of Select Surveyors in Glasgow, told the monthly survey: “After the traditionally quiet Christmas period there has been a progressive start to the year with a number of home report instructions and the prospects appear to be positive. I would expect to see an increase in business over the same period of last year.”
The statistics were contained in Rics’ UK Housing Market Survey for January.
Throughout the UK, prices remained in positive territory in London and the south-east, and moved into positive territory in Wales for the first time since early 2010.
The national picture also showed that while transactions increased, new buyer inquires and new instructions dipped slightly, partly due to the bad weather seen over the month.
Chartered surveyors in Scotland expect prices to continue to dip over the coming three months, and they also anticipate sales levels to edge lower.
Rics Scotland director Sarah Speirs 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.
“While it is still very early days to talk about a comprehensive market recovery, activity levels are encouraging.”