The buy-to-let sector is continuing to struggle with valuations contracting 26% on an annual basis following a turbulent year, according to the latest research from Connells Survey & Valuation.
But despite the slowdown in the buy-to-let sector, overall housing market activity in December 2016 was also up 8% on December 2015, and up 40% on December 2014, led by growth in the first-time buyer segment, which rose 26% year-on-year.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, said: “Looking back over the year, the market has regained a great deal of its strength with consumers’ confidence on the mend.
“Rates are low and employment is high – that’s a great recipe for a healthy housing market. And the buy-to-let market’s loss has been owner-occupiers gain as those looking to get on the ladder or trade-up have been left facing less competition for the properties they want to buy.”
The volume of valuations conducted for those selling property increased by 25% between December 2015 and December 2016. Over the same period, valuation activity among those looking to remortgage increased by 19%.
“The housing market has been recovering since September and had a great December. Compared to 2015 it looks good. Compared to December 2014 it looks exceptional,” said Bagshaw.
He continued: “First-time buyers and people selling property have regained much of the confidence they lost in the wake of the Brexit vote.
“With interest rates still at record lows, many buyers are taking the opportunity to buy property that would have been regarded as a bargain at that price just a couple of years ago.”
While overall activity is up 40%, the number of property sellers is up 32% and activity in the first-time buyer segment is up 50%.
Remortgage activity is up 68% as consumers have taken advantage of some cheap mortgage deals. Even activity in the buy-to-let segment is up 13% on December 2014.
Bagshaw added: “Looking back over the year, the market has regained a great deal of its strength with consumers’ confidence on the mend. Rates are low and employment is high –that’s a great recipe for a healthy housing market.”