A rise in house sales in the coming months has been predicted following the publication of the market survey for December by the Royal Institution of Surveyors (RICS).
Prices held steady in December, with a net balance of 12 per cent of surveyors reporting that new buyer inquiries were up. The RICS survey also said that the number of homes being put on the market remained stable last month.
A balance of 24 per cent more surveyors across the country predicted transactions will increase over the next three months.
The RICS said these findings added weight to its previous forecasts, where it was predicted prices will rise by two per cent during 2013, and also provides evidence that the market has started to "bottom out".
London, which has seen strong demand from buyers overseas, continued to buck the general trend by recording relatively strong price growth, while Wales and the North East saw the biggest declines.
Significantly, prices in the West Midlands stabilised last month and the RICS said this represented the first time in more than two and-a-half years that prices had not fallen there.
There are signs that a multi-billion pound Government lending scheme is having an impact as the number of mortgage approvals has been climbing in recent months.
The Government's Funding For Lending scheme gives lenders access to cheap finance and since its August launch there has been a sharp increase in the number of mortgages on the market.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) also said it expects sales to pick up during 2013 amid lower mortgage rates and better credit availability.
Competition between lenders has so far been aimed at borrowers with bigger deposits, although Barclays, the Co-operative Bank and the Yorkshire Building Society have all recently announced deals for small deposit borrowers.
Despite its forecast for increased activity during 2013, the CML has warned that mortgage demand could be restrained by the weakness of the economy and much will hinge on how well UK employment holds up.
RICS global residential director, Peter Bolton King, said: "Confidence in the housing market does appear to be improving as we start the new year, helped in part by the impact of the Funding For Leading scheme.
"Indeed, it may be that we are now over the very worst and our members are predicting that transaction levels will continue to increase in many parts of the country.
"That said, more still needs to be done to ensure potential buyers can access the market at every level."
Predictions for the 2013 housing market have been varied, with some surveys suggesting house prices will be flat this year, while others forecast a small drop.