Consumer sentiment towards the housing market has improved steadily, according to a Housing Market Index conducted by AIB and the ESRI.

The index is a measure of consumer perceptions in relation to the Irish housing market as well as their house price expectations.

The survey of over 800 consumers was conducted by the ESRI between July and December 2013.

The index increased to 104.4 in December from 100 at the end of September last, based on a three month rolling average.

There was also a significant shift noted in consumer expectations in relation to house prices from July to December.

The proportion of consumers who believe property prices will increase in the next twelve months increased from around 29% to just over 46%.

The main risks to buying noted in December by consumers was worries about future income or affordability concerns which was cited by 58% of respondents.