New data from NAEA Propertymark has revealed that during January there was a 37% rise in the number of people looking for a new home with the supply of available properties and the number of sales agreed also increasing.
2018 started with a boom for the housing market, as demand from prospective house-hunters increased by more than a third. In December, agents registered 268 per branch, compared to 367 in January. This is the highest figure since September 2017, when there were 394 registered per estate agent branch.
Supply of properties
In line with rising demand, January saw an influx of sellers marketing their properties – the supply of available properties increased to 36 per branch on average, from 33 in December.
Sales to first-time buyers (FTBs)
Earlier this month, UK Finance reported that sales to FTBs in 2017 were higher than any other year since the financial crisis. However, increased competition moving into 2018 looks to be affecting the group with sales falling to 27% in January, from 32% in December.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “As we usually see in January, buyers and sellers have re-entered the market after the festive slow-down and triggered an uplift in the number of sales agreed. While this is good news for the market generally, the increased competition seems to have affected FTBs, who generally have less bargaining power when it comes to bidding for properties.
Our members have noticed FTBs holding off on making purchases typically outside of London, and saving for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief. They’re skipping the ‘first time home’ and moving straight onto their second homes, to avoid growing out of their property in four or five years and facing the cost of stamp duty. This is a smart move and an example of how FTBs are making legislation work to their advantage.”