Buyers and sellers continued to return to the property market in February, and are expected to boost the number of home sales by 10% this year, according to the latest data from property website Zoopla.
All measures of activity were higher than in February 2023, the company said, with agreed sales up by 15% and buyer demand up by 11%.
As a result, the market is on track to reach 1.1m transactions across the year, up from 1m in 2023, it said.
Across the UK prices were down by 0.5% year-on-year, although this masked regional variations. In Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands and the north of England prices increased, but across the south of England they fell.
While Belfast recorded a 4.3% rise in prices, in the east of England there was a 2.1% drop.
The areas experiencing falls were those with the highest prices, where buyers have been most hit by affordability problems caused by rising mortgage rates and other increased living costs.
Last summer, rates on fixed-rate mortgages reached their highest level since 2008 as the money markets responded to the rising base rate.
Since the Bank of England paused rate increases, after the move up to 5.25% in August, prices on mortgage deals had been falling, and Zoopla said this had supported the upturn in activity “along with faster growth in household incomes”.
However, it noted that the cheapest, sub-4%, mortgages were now being pulled by lenders.