Every estate agent knows the weeks after the New Year can be some of the busiest for the property market but 2018’s have been bumper ones, it has been claimed.
NAEA Propertymark says the number of house hunters registered with agents increased by 37% during January to an average of 367 per branch, up from 268 in December. This is the highest monthly figure since September last year.
But such good news for agents comes at a cost for first time purchasers. The increased number of buyers has mainly been second steppers, the NAEA says, and first-time buyer activity dropped off as they have faced competition from other types of buyers during the New Year rush for properties.
Supply has also increased, NAEA says, up from 33 properties per branch in December to 36 during January.
The fall-off in first-time buyer activity ends a year of improvement in their numbers during 2017, which UK finance recently revealed had reached their highest numbers since the financial crash of 2007/8.
“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,” says Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark (pictured, left).
“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.”
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