Demand for million-pound homes has picked up in recent weeks property services firm Savills has said, adding to hopes that last month's interest rate cut is reviving the UK's ailing housing market.
The top end of the housing market, in which Savills is a specialist, is often a leading indicator of trends in the wider market, which has been stagnating after years of surging prices.
"The fact that the top-end market seems to have picked up over the last couple of months I think bodes quite well for the rest of the market," Savills chief executive Aubrey Adams said.
Savills said it remained to be seen whether last month's rate cut would improve activity.
The group - which has offices in Birmingham, Solihull, Telford and Hereford - posted a 15 per cent rise in profit before tax to £19.9 million, adjusting for a one-off accounting credit, in the six months to June 30.
Savills, which also markets office blocks, retail parks, warehouses, hotels and care homes, recently paid its staff a £79.4 million windfall because of strong results last year.
The company sold 2,600 homes last year with a total value of £ 2 . 6 billion, including eight houses costing more than £ 10 million in London.
Savills also said the market for leased corporate sites started to recover as a result of a more optimistic outlook for corporate tenants.
Demand in the investment market remained strong, with continuing interest from institutional investors as well as overseas buyers. The retail warehouse investment market, where Savills is a market leader, remained "buoyant".
The group's professional business recorded strong demand for its expertise on valuations, affordable housing and social housing, especially on larger scale projects.
These results offset tougher trading in residential markets, Savills said, raising its interim dividend to eight pence a share from six pence a year ago.
"The growing spread of Savills' business both on a geographical and product basis gives us confidence that we are well-placed to achieve a good result for the full year," the group said.
Analysts at Oriel Securities raising their full-year profit forecast by five per cent to £51 million.
"We continue to rate this best in class, fast growing property services company as a 'buy'," Oriel wrote in a research note.
The company's cautiously optimistic comments regarding the residential housing market came as Halifax reported a 1.6 per cent surge in house prices in August - the biggest gain in almost a year.