The number of homes being valued in January shows just how strong the property market remains in early 2016, following a very strong 2015, according to the latest report released by Connells Survey & Valuation.
It said that in total, the number of valuations carried out in January 2016 was 52 per cent higher than in the same month a year ago, which marked the highest yearly rise since July 2015 coming in at 57 per cent higher than July 2014.
Compared to the end of last year, January's total number of valuations carried out was also 13 per cent higher than December 2015, showing great forward momentum for the market at the start of the new year.
This figure may be somewhat skewed by the deluge of buy-to-let investors trying to get themselves homes before the new stamp duty levy comes into play in April of this year, but overall it shows real strength in the market, and the potential for 2016 to build on the strong year witnessed in the market in 2015.
The buy-to-let sector saw the second largest rise in valuation activity throughout the 12 month period. When compared to January 2015, we can see that 51 per cent more buy-to-let valuations were carried out in January this year. This meant that only remortgage activity, up 97 per cent year on year, saw stronger performance.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, believes other factors have also contributed to the strong start to this year, including the fact that the Bank of England recently announced its intentions to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future, leaving more people of the opinion that buying a home will remain affordable for some time.
"Buy-to-let investors and remortgagers have enjoyed a busy start to the New Year. It might come as a surprise that there are still so many home owners who are paying higher rates, and so are opting to remortgage, when rates have been so low for so long. But ultimately it’s a shrewd move and one that is likely to remain popular with homeowners so long as the Bank of England keeps rates at or anywhere near 0.5 per cent," said Mr Bagshaw.
Speaking of the buy-to-let sector, Mr Bagshaw said much of the activity in valuations was down to the fact that there are more buyers looking to get themselves new stock before the three per cent additional tax kicks in in April.
"We can expect the buy-to-let sector to reach a height of activity over the coming months, as some concerned landlords look to counter the effects of any measure that could hit their profit margins," he said.
However, he also indicated that it is not only fear of extra charges that is pushing the rental market forward at the moment, with a real growth in the number of newcomers who simply see buying to let as a viable and favourable investment option having taken place already at the start of the year. This suggests there may yet be real life in the rental market moving forward, even with the new taxes in mind.