Surveyors expect residential property sales in England and Wales to increase over the next few weeks ahead of the end of the stamp duty holiday on 24 March.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS), sales expectations for the next three months were at their highest level since May 2010, with many first-time buyers expected to secure a new home before the 1% stamp duty rate for first-time buyers, on homes worth between £125,000 and £250,000, is reintroduced.
Residential property sales edged up slightly during January as an increased number of first-time buyers looked to beat the stamp duty holiday, while the mild winter had also helped activity.
Chancellor George Osborne decided to reintroduce the stamp duty rate in last November's Autumn Statement, stating that the policy had not helped to boost property sales.
Michael Newey, RICS housing spokesperson, commented: "With first time buyers no longer exempt from stamp duty as of the end of March, it seems that some are looking to purchase homes before the deadline and, as a result, surveyors are relatively optimistic for the coming months. However, many problems with the market still exist and the lack of affordable mortgage finance is still preventing many from getting onto the property ladder.
"Prices are still falling across most parts of the country, but expectations for future prices have become less pessimistic."
There are a number of new homes available nationwide for first-time buyers looking to find a property ahead of next month's reintroduction of the 1% tax.