CONFIDENCE that house prices will increase in 2013 is growing and estate agents believe there are "encouraging signs" the market is on the up.
Belief prices will rise is at its strongest level in at least 18 months, new research suggests.
Nearly 38 per cent of people predict that house prices will rise over 2013, Halifax said of its national survey.
And the number of first-time buyers are up 12 per cent – but the age they are buying at and the amount they need to put down for a deposit has also increased.
Stroud Property Centre sales negotiator Josh Aylott said there are good signs for 2013.
"We are experiencing a lot more first-time buyers, even at this time of year," he said. "Generally they tend to be around 25 but it varies – we have people who are 17 but a lot depends on whether parents help out.
"You can't really put a figure on it though – at the other end of the scale we have first-time buyers in their late 30s."
Patricia Cram, 32, from Stroud, bought her home with her fiance last year and said it was a struggle.
"We are both professionals and the only way we could get a deposit together was with help from our parents," she said.
Despite the overall increase in confidence that house prices will rise this year, Halifax found evidence that the market will remain fairly sluggish.
Some 53 per cent of those surveyed said that 2013 will be a good time to buy, but only a small percentage (13 per cent) thought it would a good time to sell.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has also forecast that house prices across the UK will increase by two per cent over the coming 12 months.
It also expects the cost of rent to go up by four per cent.