New buyer registrations hit 4-year high

The figure rose from 304 in August to 308 in September as an average per branch - the highest level since September 2007 when it was 326.

The number of houses available for sale also increased from 65 per branch to 72 across August and September while the number of sales remained the same with eight per branch.

Other figures showed the percentage of sales to first-time buyers increased, moving from 20% in August to 22% in September, although regional variations still remain.

Wendy Evans-Scott, president of the NAEA, said: "It is encouraging to see that the number of enquiries is increasing, but sellers need to be very realistic when pricing their property in order to secure a sale in what is still a very cautious market.

"The number of first-time buyers on the market has increased slightly over the course of the month, however our agents are reporting widespread regional variation. Lending still remains a real barrier to homeownership for this part of the market."