© Press Association 2010

The property market is returning to more normal conditions as increasing numbers of people put their homes up for sale, research has shown.

Estate agents in England and Wales reported a 5.6% jump in the number of properties they had on their books during March, according to housing intelligence group Hometrack.

But the number of new buyers registering with estate agents rose by only 3.3% during the month, the first time that increases in potential sellers has outstripped rises in new buyers since January 2009.

The group said the supply of homes on the market had already jumped by 10.2% during the first two months of the year, compared with a rise of only 7% during the whole of 2009.

Richard Donnell, Hometrack's director of research, said: "Talk of improved market conditions and prices returning to near peak levels in some markets is encouraging a growing number of households to sell their properties.

"Many registered buyers are also sellers, and as they gain the confidence to move, so they need to put their homes on the market.

"Overall, it seems that we are moving from a sellers' market back towards something more akin to normal market conditions."

House prices in England and Wales edged ahead by 0.3% during the month, to stand at an average of £158,100, 1.3% higher than a year earlier.

Prices rose in 21% of postcode districts during March, slightly down on February's figure of 25.5%, while they fell in 3.6% of areas.

There was a 13% jump in the number of sales agreed during the month, while the average amount of time a property is on the market eased slightly to 8.3 weeks, while sellers are now achieving around 94% of their asking price.