February saw valuation activity hit a twelve month peak, as first time buyer numbers rose to their highest level for four years, according to the latest Housing Market Activity Report by Connells Survey & Valuation. The number of residential valuations conducted by Connells in February showed a monthly increase of 27%. On an annual basis, total valuations activity grew by 23%, the fifth month in a row of annual growth. John Bagshaw, Corporate Services Director of Connells Survey & Valuation, comments: “The wider economy might not be nurturing bright green shoots quite yet. However, for the housing market things are looking increasingly positive as a growing number of first time buyers feed into overall activity. While more severe weather in January could have delayed some activity in February, sentiment among buyers is improving. If last month’s trend continues, spring will certainly have sprung for the valuations market.” First time buyer numbers in February were at a four year high as the number of valuations grew to its highest point in any month since March 2009. New buyers outnumbered those a year ago by 13%, with February seeing the sixth consecutive month of annual growth. Compared to January, February saw 25% more valuations on behalf of first time buyers. Bagshaw adds: “More affordable mortgage deals are starting to trickle through faster, due to increased competition at higher LTVs. According to Moneyfacts, lenders have introduced more than three hundred new mortgage products aimed at first time buyers since the start of Funding for Lending. Combined with increased traction from deposit schemes like FirstBuy and NewBuy, momentum is building inch-by-inch. However, lending criteria remain tight, and deposits must be easier to bring together if we’re to see more sustainable growth in new buyer numbers.” The rise in first time buying activity will be welcome news for many people, including a number of second steppers who have been prevented from moving up the property ladder, due to a lack of first time buyers.
Article courtesy of Property Investor Today