Homeowners and private landlords have been told that the UK housing market appears to be over the worst of its recent troubles, which have seen property prices drop and a reduction in the availability of mortgages.

That is the opinion of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the group's president Gary Smith, who have together predicted an upturn in activity over the coming months.

Recent increases in agent sales boards have been reported by the NAEA, with one in six branches noting a 20 per cent upturn.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith said that estimates have shown that there is "a significant increase in demand", which suggests there are "plenty of buyers out there".

"The NAEA calls on the government to further badger banks and building societies to respond to the opportunity to pull the situation around,"he added.

Last month, chief executive of the association Peter Bolton-King said that first-time buyer confidence has been growing since the start of spring.

Written by Mark Garner

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