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Number looking to buy home soars

The number of people looking to buy a home soared to a six-month high last month, figures show.

There were an average of 252 potential buyers registered with estate agents during the month, compared with 227 in December 2010, research from the National Association of Estate Agents revealed.

However, the figure was 13 per cent lower than January 2010. The group said many consumers could be reluctant to enter the market due to the uncertain economic conditions.

There was a slight increase in the average number of properties estate agents had on their books - 69 in January 2011 compared with 64 in December 2010.

The property market often experiences a bounce in the new year as buyers return to the market after putting plans to move on ice during the festive season. The freezing weather could also have had an impact.

NAEA president Michael Jones said: "It is encouraging to see activity levels begin to increase following the downturn we saw in December where bad weather and the Christmas festivities kept many house-hunters away.

"However, when compared with our report from this time last year, the market is still showing signs of consumer reluctance. Macro-economic issues such as the VAT rise and interest rate pressures continue to put many people off searching for property."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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