Connells have today reported a flying start to 2011 in the residential valuation sector. A second successive annual increase in residential valuation activity, Connells say that the growth was not just an annual improvement. In January the total number of residential valuations increased by 9%, compared to December 2010, but a proportion of this figure can be attributed to delayed transactions and valuations which had to be put back due to Christmas and the adverse weather conditions in December.
Paul Staley, Corporate Services Director of Connells Survey and Valuation, comments:
“The onset of Christmas — and December’s arctic weather — boosted activity in January. A large proportion of valuations were rescheduled in December, and many borrowers and buyers delayed decisions until after the New Year. But the seasonal phenomenon doesn’t mask the underlying positive trend of growth, driven by a strong pick up in buy-to-let investment and remortgaging. We’ve seen a very strong start to 2011, and if activity continues in a similar vein throughout the year, we will see further growth in the valuation sector.”
Valuations for prospective landlords also rose with 8% more valuations carried out in January than December.
Paul Staley continues:
“Despite the seasonal lull in the rental market, rents have remained robust, and prospective landlords are taking advantage of the increasing number of products entering the buy-to-let mortgage market. However, remortgaging levels are also climbing. The very public and ongoing debate amongst MPC members over raising interest rates has also encouraged many borrowers to take advantage of low fixed remortgage rates, and lock in before an interest rates hike.
Despite a month-on-month improvement, we’re operating in a market where transactions levels are very low historically. The number of home buyers remains slightly down on last year, as the limited availability of mortgage finance continues to suppress first-time buyer activity. With inflation outstripping wage growth, and rising unemployment likely to impact buyers’ finances, the health of the wider housing market will be closely tied to the wider economy’s performance over the course of the year.”
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