The property market came alive over the past six months as credit lines began to open up and entrepreneurial retailers seized opportunities.

Purchases of convenience store forecourts, off-licences and newsagents increased by 21% in the first six months of 2010 compared with the previous six months, according to specialist property agent and advisor Christie & Co.

Customer viewings of available businesses also rose, up by 13% to 2,253 in the first six months of the year, the company added.

While experienced retailers were still the leading purchasers, the past six months have seen a wider range of buyers start to emerge, with freehold businesses in high demand.

Christie + Co head of retail Tony Evans said: "With the first half of 2010 under our belts it is encouraging to reflect on an increasing flow of completed deals, with a number expected to complete in the next month.

"With values seemingly having stabilised, it looks like prospective buyers are more confident that they are likely to get value for their money."

As interest rates are relatively low and for the time being stable, affordability was also starting to drive demand for quality retail businesses, he added.