Chancellor George Osborne's looming stamp duty surcharge is driving housing demand as buy-to-let investors rush to beat the tax hike.
The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey for December, published today, showed demand for properties leapt to a three-month high.
Surveyors and estate agents say this has been driven by a jump in interest from buy-to-let investors.
From 1 April, investors will be required to pay 3% more in stamp duty than residential buyers looking to purchase the same home.
Since the Chancellor announced these measures in his Autumn Statement last November, 16% more chartered surveyors have reported a rise in new buyer enquiries.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the housing market enjoyed an unusually buoyant December.
“Potential buy-to-let investors are looking to pick up properties before the increased stamp duty levy comes into force in April.
“If that is the case, then we can expect to see the housing market heating up further over the next few months.”
Chartered surveyor Robert Green of Chelsea-based estate agent John D Wood & Co. said: “December was busier than normal as stamp duty changes have brought buyers back to the market.”