house prices
Scotland and Northern Ireland confidence in the housing market is on the rise Reuters

The housing market in Scotland and Northern Ireland outperformed the rest of the UK in January, according to a study.

Almost half (47%) of surveyors reporting prices in Northern Ireland said that they had seen house prices increase, with 38% reporting increases in Scotland.

Scotland's imminent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), which is set to come in to effect in April, has boosted confidence as more first time buyers look to get on the property ladder, the most recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) research shows.

Scots were the most enthusiastic about buying property in January, but on a national level, enquiries fell for the seventh month in a row.

Sarah Speirs, director RICS Scotland, said: "The changes to Stamp Duty and pending introduction of LBTT in Scotland are, to varying degrees, providing an incentive to first time buyers, but there remain a number of challenges to market, such as ongoing affordability constraints, lack of stock and an air of caution in the run up to the general election."

However, housing market confidence in England and Wales continued to deteriorate.

Some 49% of respondents said that prices in London fell, with short term outlook negative.