UK housing market activity has climbed to its highest level in six months, according to the latest research from Connells Survey and Valuation.
The firm said that as of September, the total number of property valuations has reached a six-month high, and the second-highest monthly level on record.
Additionally, September saw just 0.5 per cent fewer valuations carried our than in march 2015, which was the highest on record.
On an annual basis, total valuation activity is up 29 per cent compared to September 2014, after a 23 per cent month-on-month rebound since August 2015.
Connells said that the number of valuations carried out specifically for first-time buyers rose by a quarter -25 per cent - in September compared to the previous month of August. This also represents an 18 per cent increase compared to September 2014.
Valuation activity among established home-movers performed even better, with the number of valuations carried out for those moving house increasing to 26 per cent when compared to the previous month and 23 per cent since September 2014.
Connells said that remortgaging experienced another stand-out month, with the number of valuations for those thinking of taking a fresh mortgage out against the value of their current home rising 16 per cent on August of this year and 49 per cent since September 2014.
Alongside this, it said that the buy-to-let sector has seen steadier growth, with the number of valuations growing 13 per cent since September last year.
On a monthly basis, valuations activity carried out on behalf of buy-to-let investors grew by 21 per cent compared with August.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey and Valuation said: “Britain’s housing market is going from strength to strength.
“Against a brightening economic background, players in all parts of the market are feeling more confident about their prospects. Valuation activity is growing beyond the seasonal pick-up at the end of August, with year-on-year growth gathering momentum.”
Mr Bagshaw said: “First-time buyers aren’t just feeling more confident, they are now following this up with real action – and contributing a good portion of growth in the UK housing market.
“There are no signs yet that schemes such as Help-to-Buy are going to be phased out, helping to suppress the barriers to setting a first foot on the ladder. Meanwhile, wages are growing faster than inflation and purchase prices have cooled a little in recent months – all contributing to an acceleration in numbers of first time buyers. Moreover, the latest focus from the Government on starter homes is a promising sign there is at least a strong intention to maintain support at the bottom of the ladder.
“Home-movers have also been buoyed by the same trends. Rising real-term wages combined with steadily increasing property values mean that many of those who are already fortunate enough to have a place of their own feel it’s a great time to buy.”
Mr Bagshaw added: “The remortgaging sector is continuing to power ahead – with plenty of people still opting to improve rather than move. High demand in this sector is still being driven by the large number of good mortgage deals out there, as homeowners rush to capitalise on the value of their home, while it’s still relatively cheap to do so.