Property searches on the up

The figures show that prospective buyers have turned to the internet in record numbers as the site recorded 12 million page views and 800,000 visitor sessions, which represents an increase of 80 per cent on the busiest month last year.

Andrew Pendery, director of Find a Property, said: "January has been our busiest month on record. Confidence has returned to the market, and with 45 per cent of UK households connected to the internet this is rapidly becoming the primary means for house hunters to check what’s available."

The figures are confirmed by a number of estate agents, who confirmed that January 2002 was one of the busiest on record.

Malcolm Gee of Hawes and Company, said: "The market picked up in December and has been very busy in January. Business is up 30 per cent and there have been a lot of new applicants."

Dee McDonald, sales manager for Townchoice, agreed: "The market really picked up in January. Applicants and valuations increased dramatically and business is up by 30 per cent. The only problem at present is lack of supply. The internet is now a key component in the marketing of property and will undoubtedly rise in the future."