The number of estate agents closing their doors appears to be coming to a halt amid evidence of a recovery in housebuying from last year’s record lows, according to two of the largest listed estate agency groups.

Rightmove, the property website, yesterday reported that interest from home hunters in its website has been running at similar levels to before the downturn. During April, the website saw traffic rise for the first time relative to the same month in 2008.

The company said it was trading ahead of expectations, helped by a significant decline in the rate at which estate agents were leaving the industry. More than a fifth of estate agencies went out of business last year, with as many as 300 of its estate agency members leaving every month owing to administration.

Meanwhile Savills, the real estate adviser, also noted a lift in transactions in March in the residential market, fuelled by interest from cash buyers.

Financial Times