THOUSANDS of people who are renting a home expect to buy a property in the new year.
One in five of those who are renting a home now say they are likely to purchase a property in the next 12 months, according to a new property survey.
The survey also shows that large numbers of those who are still living at home with their parents are preparing to buy a home in the next year.
The survey, which was carried out by Red C on behalf of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), comes as a chronic shortage of family-type homes has sent property prices rising sharply in urban areas.
President of the surveyors' group Micheal O'Connor said the research showed a slight improvement in market activity and sentiment this year compared with 2012.
"Overall, 7pc of the 1,000 people surveyed say they plan to buy a new home in the next 12 months," he said.
"This compares with a figure of 5pc last year. This is quite encouraging and indicates consumer confidence is improving, albeit off a low base."
But Mr O'Connor warned that a lack of supply was putting pressure on prices in urban areas and that the heavy reliance on cash purchases was not sustainable.
"Everyone wants to see a return to a normal functioning property market as quickly as possible and for that to happen we must ensure that supply issues are addressed speedily where they occur."
Meanwhile, problems in the property market have also been highlighted from separate research that shows that the number of houses and apartments bought and sold in this country is lower than in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Economist at estate agents Savills Ireland John McCartney said that even though Scotland had a similar population to this country, the level of transactions here was much lower.
This, he said, was due to the fact that we were not building enough residential properties in this country.
"Just over 25,000 houses were sold in Ireland last year while sales in Scotland were almost 73,000. Although Scotland's population is just 15pc greater than Ireland's, it had almost three times as many housing transactions in 2012."
Dr McCartney said that in terms of sales per 1,000 of the population, Ireland was at the bottom of the Celtic league table.
There are just 5.47 housing transactions per 1,000. This compares with a figure of 7.53 for Northern Ireland, 9.92 for Wales and 13.79 for Scotland.
He said that the number of properties for sale on the Dublin market was now probably 30pc to 40pc below what it was at this time last year.
Meanwhile, a senior civil servant at the Department of Finance has warned boom-time house buyers that they could remain in negative equity for some time
John Hogan, who is head of banking policy at the department, told an audience at the conference held by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland in Dublin: "Negative equity, despite the recent recovery in Dublin prices, will remain a reality for many."