With recent figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showing that interest from first-time buyers has risen consistently over the past three months, those looking to sell may have had cause for hope.
However, new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has shown that gross mortgage lending fell again in January and has now dropped by 52 per cent since January 2008.
CML head of research Bob Pannell explained that the market has a long way to go before it recovers.
"Mortgage lending activity continues to be very weak and while people are searching eagerly for some signs of recovery, it would be unrealistic to expect a meaningful revival in lending in coming months," he said.
"Even when conditions do improve, gross lending will be one of the later measures to recover."
The drop of eight per cent to £12.4 billion means that last month saw the lowest level of lending since April 20