January saw a jump in the number of first-time buyers getting on to the housing ladder, according to research from Connells Survey & Valuation.
In the first month of 2017, first-time buyer valuations rose by a fifth year-on-year, driven by high employment and an uplift in weekly earnings.
This has increased the importance of first-time buyers to the overall housing market, with first-time buyers now responsible for a third of activity, up from a quarter at the start of 2016.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, said: “With UK employment close to its eleven year high and weekly earnings rising by 3%, many first-time buyers are fitter financially than they were a year ago.
“Aided by cheap mortgages rates, aspiring home owners have seized the opportunity to get their first foot on the ladder.
“The demand for homes has been particularly high in January, with the Connells Group estate agency network for instance seeing nearly 12 applicants per each new instruction that comes onto the market.”
The number of valuations carried out on behalf of people selling property rose 10 per cent in January 2017, compared to the same month last year.
But, while valuations for first-time buyers and those selling homes increased, landlord investment has declined by 63 per cent year-on-year.
This is partially due to a surge in buy-to-let purchases in January 2016 as landlords brought forward purchases to avoid the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge – but landlord investment is still well down on January 2015.
Nick Green, a mortgage adviser with Coventry-based Alternative Estates & Financial Services, said: “I have definitely seen a jump in first-time buyers since January.
“They are more confident to buy and they have got the savings. The price of renting is really high so it is a lot cheaper to get a mortgage”