Number of people looking to buy a home increased in January
The number of house hunters looking for new homes in the UK rose by 37% in January as 2018 got off to a strong start, the latest agents report suggests.
The supply of available properties and the number of sales agreed also increased, according to the monthly report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
However, this increased competition stifled first time buyers as sales to this group of buyers fell from 32% in December to 27% in January. But this may be that they are skipping the traditional start-up home and looking for bigger properties.
Overall agents registered 367 buyers per branch in January, up from 268 the previous month and the highest figure since September 2017, when there were 394 registered per estate agent branch.
In line with rising demand, January saw an influx of sellers marketing their properties as the supply of available properties increased to 36 per branch on average, from 33 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. While this is good news for the market generally, the increased competition seems to have affected first time buyers, who generally have less bargaining power when it comes to bidding for properties,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA chief executive.
‘Our members have noticed first time buyers 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 first time buyers are making legislation work to their advantage,’ he added.