Some 15% more chartered surveyors reported that newly-agreed house sales had risen during January. Transactions have now grown for four consecutive months.

House prices remained broadly stable during the month, though 4% more respondents to the RICS survey said prices had fallen.

“Along with other signs, this suggests that the very worst may be over for the market,” said the RICS.

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors anticipate house prices will begin to move a little higher as the year progresses, with transaction levels to remain on an upward trajectory.

Meanwhile, the NHBC has announced a freeze on its fees to support housebuilding. The fee-freeze, set until at least March 31, 2014, aplies to all key services including warranties, building control services and registration charges.

NHBC has also axed its £350 resolution charge for each visit following a significant drop in requests to resolve disputes between builders and homeowners. Dispute investigations have fallen 60% from a peak of 8,500 in 2008 to under 3,500 in 2012.