U.K. housing market sees renewed optimism in January

U.K. real estate agents reported that house prices increased for the first time in more than a year last month.

In more evidence of a pickup in sentiment following Boris Johnson's December election victory, which lifted uncertainty about whether the country would leave the European Union, an index of price changes rose to the strongest level since 2017.

Measures for London and the southeast, the regions that have borne the brunt of Brexit wrangling, also returned to growth, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said Thursday.

"The latest survey results point to a continued improvement in market sentiment over the month, building on a noticeable pick-up in the immediate aftermath of the general election," said Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn. "At this point in time, contributors are optimistic regarding the outlook for activity over the next 12 months."

The prospect of continued indecision over when and how the U.K. would leave the EU gave both buyers and sellers pause last year. In January, indicators of demand, sales and fresh buyer inquiries all strengthened, RICS said.

Bloomberg News