In September, the total number of residential valuations conducted by Connells Survey & Valuation increased by 30% compared to the previous month.
However, the total number of valuations in the month was 4% lower than in September 2011, although this is the first month in 2012 to see an annual drop.
On a quarterly basis, while total valuations were down 1% in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter, they were still 1% higher than in the same three months in 2011.
“The housing market tends to pick up pace in September, entering peak season as the school holidays end and buyers return from their summer hiatus,” said John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation.
“However, in the context of a sluggish summer, exaggerated by the distraction of the Olympics, the strong uplift in activity demonstrates the underlying demand from buyers despite continued challenges in the economic environment.”
First-time-buyer valuations were up 38% on a monthly basis and the numbers of first time buyers also rose annually, climbing by 8% year on year.
Bagshaw added: “First-time buyers are the engine room of the housing market, and any increase in their numbers is to be welcomed. There are indications that higher LTV deals are becoming available, but it is still tough for the average new buyer to secure the finance they need. Lending criteria remain tight, and the growth is largely being driven by wealthier borrowers and those with substantial deposits.
“On top of this, meeting the cost of the reinstated stamp duty is adding a separate financial hurdle. To avoid the improvement in first-time buyer activity being a flash in the pan, it’s vital that the government seriously considers proposals like the stamp duty break put forward by Labour to support the buyers who need help the most.”
The lowest month-on-month growth was displayed by the buy-to-let sector, with the number of valuations rising by 25%. On an annual basis, valuation activity was up 7%. Buy-to-let now represents 14% of the valuations market, Connells said.