Retirement home specialist says that after six challenging months the housing market is showing signs of recovery.

McCarthy & Stone has reported a strengthening of the housing market in the last few weeks following a challenging last six months.

The retirement home specialist increased sales by 1.5% to 792 for the six months to 28 February 2005 and increased average selling price from £142,000 to £164,600.

McCarthy & Stone said that over the six month period it had recorded a comfortable increase in the level of first time visitors and it predicted a satisfactory set of half year results, which will be announced on 20 April 2005.

The group said it is carrying the same level of forward sales as it was in 2003