First time buyer figures hit four year high

New buyers outnumber those a year ago by 13%

The number of residential valuations conducted by Connells in February showed a monthly increase of 27 per cent, while on an annual basis, total valuations activity grew by 23 per cent, the fifth month in a row of annual growth.

“While more severe weather in January could have delayed some activity in February," said John Bagshaw, Corporate Services Director of Connells Survey & Valuation, "sentiment among buyers is improving. More affordable mortgage deals are starting to trickle through faster. However, lending criteria remain tight and deposits must be easier to bring together if we’re to see more sustainable growth in new buyer numbers.”

First time buyer numbers in February were at a four year high as the number of valuations grew to its highest point in any month since March 2009. New buyers outnumbered those a year ago by 13 per cent, with February seeing the sixth consecutive month of annual growth. Compared to January, February saw 25 per cent more valuations on behalf of first time buyers.

Remortgaging activity in February was up 44 per cent from the same point a year ago.

“Landlords and homeowners with equity looking to upsize are striking now," said Bagshaw, "while prices are still below their past peaks in many parts of the country.  Equally, while there is substantial regional variation, in areas like London equity growth has meant that many are either cashing in or downsizing.  Alongside this buy-to-let is making steadier progress, and looks like it’s set to do so for the foreseeable future.”

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