Buyers and sellers agree on the outlook for the property market for the first time since September last year, according to new figures from Propertyfinder.com.
The firm says that the convergence of opinions was a crucial indicator for the health of the housing market.
Over the next twelve months sellers expect prices to rise 0.6 per cent and buyers see a 0.4 per cent rise. In the West Midlands, the respective equivalents are 0.74 per cent and 0.5 per cent.
The wider the gap between buyers' and sellers' views, the lower transaction numbers become. In September 2004, when buyers and sellers last agreed, transaction volumes were 148,000.
By January 2005, when buyers and sellers disagreed most vehemently, transactions hit their lowest point, just 107,000.
From April, as buyers and sellers increasingly accepted that house prices would be flat for the coming twelve months and that a crash was simply not going to happen, transactions steadily recovered from 117,000 in April to reach 133,000 in August.
Offers made on properties give a further indicator of the reunion of buyers' and sellers' minds.
In September, buyers were offering 4.5 per cent below the asking price, while sellers said they would accept offers 4.3 per cent down.
In April, sellers were prepared to accept 4.5 per cent, but buyers were not prepared to offer better than eight per cent below the asking price.
In the West Midlands, there has been a similar trend. Offers are now averaging 4.1 per cent below the asking price, while sellers say they are prepared to accept a four per cent discount.
Further evidence of a growing recovery comes from the number of referrals the Propertyfinder.com website is passing to estate agents listing properties on the site.
In September, househunters made 25 per cent more enquiries from the website to estate agents than in April, six months previously.
In the three months to September, the number of these enquiries was 12.5 per cent higher than in the three months to June.
Jim Buckle, managing director of propertyfinder.com, said: "With both buyers and sellers in such agreement in September, we can expect transaction volumes to continue to recover and predict a strengthening market into 2006.
"We stick by our forecast, made at the beginning August, that volumes will reach 140,000 by November."
He added: "The West Midlands is set to perform slightly better than the UK average.
"There is no evidence in our survey to suggest house prices are set to recommence their upward march, but expectations of flat prices are good for the health of the market.
"With incomes growing and a second interest rate cut likely by early 2006, meaning reduced mortgage payments, houses are becoming increasingly affordable. Buyers and sellers can go ahead with confidence." n Construction growth slowed a bit in September as house building barely expanded, a survey showed yesterday.
The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply/NTC Research said its seasonally adjusted index for construction slipped to 57.2 in September, not far off a 16-month high of 57.4 in August. But the housing sub-index slipped to 50.2 from 50.8 in August, only just above the 50 mark that divides growth and contraction.
"The commercial sector continued to be the industry's strongest performer, while growth of activity in the housing and the civil engineering sectors was only marginal," said Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS.
New orders hit a ten-month high, CIPS said, with that sub-index rising to 59.4 from 59.1. Companies also took on new workers at their fastest pace in five months.
Confidence in the future also rose sharply from a fouryear low struck in August with the future business activity index at 75.8 in September compared with 70.9.