Housing market enters "sustained recovery"
March saw a strong lift in housing market activity with seven per cent more residential mortgage valuations conducted compared to 12 months ago, data from Connells Survey and Valuation has shown.
This is the fourth successive months in which residential mortgage valuation activity has risen year-on-year. Connells claimed this indicated a "sustained" recovery in the housing and mortgage market.
In the first three months of 2011, valuation activity was 16 per cent higher than in the same period a year ago.
In March, the total number of valuations for residential property increased by five per cent compared to February, while the first quarter of the year saw 24 per cent more valuations conducted than in the previous quarter.
Connells also claimed that March saw an encouraging increase in the number of first-time buyers entering the market.
There were 21 per cent more valuations for first-timers than in February, and 26 per cent more in the first quarter of 2011 than in the previous quarter, the data has shown.
With 34 per cent of all valuations conducted on behalf of first-time buyers, this is the highest proportion of all Connells’ valuations since September 2010.
Increasing commitment from buy-to-let investors has also played a "vital role" in the pick-up in housing market activity, claimed Connells. The number of valuations for prospective buy-to-let landlords rose by 14 per cent in March compared to a year ago - five per cent more than last month.
In the first quarter of the year, there were 55 per cent more valuations for property investors than in the same period last year, according to the data.
Homeowner valuation activity also rose, increasing by two per cent in March compared to February, although this figure was down by nine per cent compared to 12 months ago.
Although remortgaging activity dropped back slightly in March following February’s spike, there were 56 per cent more valuations for remortgagors conducted during the month than in March last year.
Colin Dorman, business development director of Connells, said: "In recent months, mortgage activity has been buoyed by the strong demand for remortgage products as homeowners look to get household finances in order before interest rate rises.
"This has been somewhat balanced by the rising costs of remortgage products, but there is still substantial demand from borrowers looking to fix rates while interest rates are low."