Property asking prices rose by 0.7 per cent in January to an average of £297,587 in January, according to the latest house price index from property portal Rightmove.
Asking prices are now up by 1.1 per cent over the last 12 months.
There are significant regional differences though. Scotland saw asking prices drop 4.4 per cent on average in January.
Tthe North East and greater London saw 2.7 and 1.4 per cent falls respectively.
In contrast, asking prices in the North West rose by 2.4 per cent, while the South West saw a 1.6 per cent increase.
However, sellers remain very choosy, with the number of sales agreed in the final quarter of 2017 down on the preceding year in all regions.
Stock levels are also unchanged from a year ago, at an average of two properties per estate agency branch.
Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside says: “Setting tempting asking prices and then quickly reducing them if there is little initial interest will be key to turning this promising level of buyer activity into actual sales, especially in the less active sectors and locations of the UK.”
The stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers appears to already be having an effect, Rightmove notes.
Properties that typically suit this buyer group have seen prices rise 1.1 per cent over the month, compared to 0.4 per cent growth for second stepper homes and 0.8 per cent growth for properties at the top end.
Legal & General director Jeremy Duncombe says that 2018 has got off to a “realistic start”, with asking price growth more in line with inflation that previous years.
“Couple this with competitive mortgage rates and a Stamp Duty exemption, and first-time buyers should find it that little bit easier to get on the property ladder,” he adds.