UK housing market starts 2014 with "stampede" of activity

Friday, February 14, 2014. Ivan Radford @themovechannel

A "stampede" of activity has started off the new year in style for the UK housing market. Total valuations jumped 37 per cent on a monthly basis, bringing activity to one-third higher than January 2013.

Today’s other Buying and Selling news:
Rising number of UK homes fetching asking price or above

Photo credit: Boyce Duprey

The rise in activity was driven by first-time buyers, says Connells Survey and Valuation. The chartered surveyors' report shows that there were 56 per cent more new buyers in January than in December, significantly faster than monthly growth in all other areas of the housing market.  On an annual basis this brings the number of valuations on behalf of first time buyers to 35 per cent higher than January 2013.

John Bagshaw, Corporate Services Director of Connells Survey & Valuation, comments: “A certain New Year jump is normal – but this January has felt more like a stampede. The seasonal rebound between December and January has been significantly stronger than we usually experience.

Bagshaw attributes the rise partly to the effect of government schemes, such as Help to Buy, but also an overall increase in confidence from both buyers and lenders.

Remortgaging activity saw the second fastest monthly growth, up 31 per cent compared to December.  On an annual basis, this leaves remortgaging the fastest growing area of activity, with the number of valuations for remortgaging purposes 56 per cent ahead of January 2013.

Meanwhile buy-to-let valuations accelerated by 29 per cent since December, leaving buy-to-let activity in January up 32 per cent on an annual basis.

“Landlords are among those searching for the best deals, yet this business should remain steadier for some time.  First time buyers have come back to the market in dramatic numbers, but demand for rental property is still solid.  So combined with steady capital accumulation from price rises the buy-to-let market looks set for consistent growth for some time.”

John Bagshaw continues: “The winter lull is already over.  Current weather conditions might still be causing havoc, but the housing market is feeling the full warmth of spring.  Monthly conditions are still variable, but the economic climate is going the right way.  Certainly, the ice age of the last seven years has well and truly thawed – and this is finally reflected in a flourishing housing market.”

Rising number of UK homes fetching asking price or above

The number of UK homes that are fetching asking price or above when sold has signficantly increased at the start of this year. Data from the National Association of Estate Agents shows that the 32 per cent of properties sold in January 2014 did so at their original asking price, while 12 per cent were sold for an even higher amount. The figures are a marked improvement from September last year, when 22 per cent of UK homes achieved asking price.

The data follows previous reports of bidding wars returning to the UK housing market, as the country continues its recovery and turns into a seller's rather than a buyer's market.

Author - Dan Johnson
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