February thaw brings bounce to housing market

Ross Bowen, the Managing Director of Connells Survey and Valuation comments:

“Traditionally, the valuations market begins to see a boost in activity in January following the Christmas lull. January witnessed a hangover from re-instating the lower stamp duty threshold while the arctic weather conditions disrupted some buying activity. However, February saw househunters back on to the streets in force, with activity bouncing back as a result.”

The increase in activity has been fuelled by first-time buyers. In February, 63% more first-timers requested a valuation than in January – boosting the number above levels seen a year ago. There was also a substantial month-on-month rise in valuations conducted for current home owners looking to move (+43%).

Ross Bowen comments: “In January, we saw first-time buyer activity drop off slightly compared to December. Many first-timers had rushed to make their transactions before stamp duty holiday ended. In February, demand bounced back. Consumer confidence has been buoyed by nine months of rising house prices, and more and more people are considering buying a home. Homeowners have seen their properties reclaim much of the value lost during the downturn. Many who previously delayed see now as the right time to move properties.”

Remortgaging and buy to let activity also surged upwards – valuations for buy to let investors rose buy 81%, and remortgaging levels doubled compared to January. However, this was from a low base. With mortgage finance conditions still difficult, remortgaging valuations were less than 30% their level in February 2008. Buy to let was 30% lower than 2008.

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