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End of stamp duty holiday fails to dampen housing market

Ross Bowen, the managing director of Connells Survey and Valuation said: "December and January are traditionally quiet months for the housing market, but valuation activity in December was buoyed by transactions completed by before the withdrawal of the higher stamp-duty threshold. This more positive trend was continued in January, with valuations up a tenth on a year ago. The positive start with transaction levels in January points to a continuing improvement in the housing market."       

The growth in the number of valuations compared to Jan 2009 was led by current homeowners, who obtained 40% more valuations last month than in January 2009, while there was also a substantial increase in buy-to-let business (+30%).

On the other hand, remortgage activity continues to languish, 28% lower than a year ago, while first-time buyer valuations were almost unchanged.

Bowen said: "During the downturn, many homeowners who wanted to move delayed their purchase decisions. As confidence continues to come back to the housing market, we’re seeing this pent-up demand translated into much higher levels of activity among existing homeowners and buy-to-let investors. It is still subdued for first-time buyers, however."

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