By Daniel Hunter

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) have said that UK house sales hit their highest level in more than two-and-a-half years in February.

However, they also said that the figures do not signal a housing boom, as nearly 17 homes were sold per surveyor in the three months to February.

The rise in sales was set to continue, Rics said, even though inquiries from potential buyers had failed to pick up since January's cold snap. Prices were also relatively unchanged.

"It is encouraging to see that the housing market now appears to be picking up across most parts of the UK despite ongoing concerns about the health of the economy," said Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics.

"This may, in part, be down to the growing availability of mortgage finance through schemes such as Funding for Lending. However, even with activity running at its best level since the middle of 2010, it is still well down on its pre-crisis norm."

The number of mortgages on the market has increased by about a third since the launch of the Funding for Lending scheme, which was aimed at encouraging lending by offering cheap funds to mortgage and loan providers.

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