Ireland's property market experienced improvement in January as home prices rose and an increase in sales were noted. The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) forecasts that the trend will continue throughout 2011.

Ireland faced severe weather in December, making it a more difficult month for the property market, but as spring approaches experts have confidence that buyers will increase in number.

RICS housing spokesman Tom McClelland stated that springtime normally sees greater activity, and January has already outperformed December in terms of home prices and sales.

Harsh weather is a deterrent for some buyers, who choose to hold off until better weather comes around. Though springtime may bring more market activity, McClelland cautions on the impact of spending cuts and the anticipation of increased interest rates.

Irish property has become more affordable within the last few years and this may well prove to be a factor in offsetting the negative impact of things like austerity and rate hikes.

According to Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, Ireland's future is looking better and better. Based on the increase from recent months, optimism abounds for an optimal year in the Irish property market.

Our own experience regarding mortgage inquiries in the past month tallies with the expectation that activity in the housing market will increase, he said.

In particular, we have experienced a marked increase in queries and completions from home movers.