Growing numbers of first-time buyers are ending their exile from the market as house sales - and prices - increase across Leeds and other sought-after places to live across Yorkshire.

The first six months of the year have witnessed the number of sales rise at an ever-increasing pace, underlining the improved confidence in the market among buyers, wedded to a healthier economic climate.

The "ripple effect" of growing demand that has been widely reported in parts of London was now moving noticeably closer to Leeds and other prized locations across Yorkshire.

The upturn has come as official statistics from the Land Registry revealed average house prices have risen by 6.7 per cent across England and Wales, with some parts of the capital experiencing increases as high as 26 per cent.

Valuation manager at Linley & Simpson's Roundhay branch, David Reeves, said the results of improved market conditions were particularly visible in sales of homes in the £250,000 and under bracket.

"Properties priced at £250,000 and above are selling, and selling well, but it is homes below that price range that are proving increasingly popular - with extremely quick completions being agreed and, in some cases, bidding wars.

"Three-bedroomed semi-detached properties command plenty of appeal in the current marketplace, particularly in and around North Leeds, and especially where they have been modernised or refurbished."

Linley & Simpson say the market has been buoyed by a noticeable and long-awaited return of first-time buyers.

They have decided that now is the optimum time to look at buying their own home after 'nesting' in rental accommodation for the last few years, watching on from the sidelines as to how the market behaved.

Against this positive backdrop, Mr Reeves predicted that demand for realistically-priced homes would stay strong

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