The number of house-hunters looking for new homes rose by 37% in January in line with the supply of available properties and the number of sales agreed also increasing.
NAEA Propertymark’s January Housing Report found that 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 buyers per branch, compared to 367 in January – the highest figure since September 2017 (395 registered).
January also saw an increasing number of sellers marketing their properties. The supply of available properties rose to 36 per branch on average from 33 in December.
However, while sales to first-time buyers (FTBs) in 2017 were higher than any other year since the financial crisis, increased competition caused sales to drop to 27% in January 2018 from 32% in December.
“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,” Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said.
“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.”
Hayward noticed FTBs holding off on making purchases typically outside of London and saving for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief.
He said: “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.”