5th February 2016
The housing market has kicked off 2016 on a positive note with property valuations up by half compared to the year before.
Figures from Connells Survey & Valuation shows the number of valuations climbed 52% compared to January 2015, the fastest uptick in total valuation activity since July 2015 when they rose 57% compared to the year before.
On a monthly basis, valuation activity grew 13% between December and January.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director at Connells Survey & Valuation, said: ‘The UK housing market has shaken off the traditional seasonal slump that it typically experiences in December and is beginning to make progress once more.
‘With the financial strain of the festive period behind them, buyers and remortgagors have the space and resources to focus their attention on climbing the property ladder again.’
It is not just those wishing to climb the ladder who have impacted valuations, buy-to-let investors are also trying to purchase property before an increase in second home stamp duty comes into force on 1 April.
The number of buy-to-let valuations increased 51% between January 2015 and January 2016, while the remortgaging sector soared 97% over the same time period.
On a month-by-month basis the number of buy-to-let valuation grew 11% between December and January.
‘With the 1 April stamp duty surcharge looking, many investors and second home buyers have begun the new year eager to move up the ladder before this kicks in,’ said Bagshaw.
‘Buy-to-let investors are also continuing to flex their muscles. While many are hurrying to expand their portfolios before the Stamp Duty changes kick in in April, others are new-comers to the sector, who simply see buy-to-let as a good investment opportunity – regardless of the tax hikes and hurdles the Treasury throws at it. Nevertheless, we can expect the buy-to-let sector to reach a height of activity over the coming months, as some concerned landlords look to counter the effects of any measure that could hit their profit margins.’
The fact that interest rates remain at a historic low of 0.5% and the Bank of England has said they will not rise soon will ensure the property market stays buoyant.
‘The property market is also being buoyed by the recent announcement from the Bank of England that interest rates will be kept at rock bottom levels for the foreseeable future. So long as this remains true – and the general economic outlook stays healthy – acting sooner rather than later will seem the most sensible option to buyers and remortgagors,’ said Bagshaw.