UK residential property market saw strong start to the year, report confirms

Taylor Scott International News

The UK property market started 2016 at breakneck speed with even stronger and more buoyant activity than the positive sentiment seen during the final quarter of 2015, according to a new report. The number of active buyers entering the residential property market reached new heights, partly driven by the continuation of positive economic trends, such as low interest rates, says the analysis from Connells Group. This has tempted those on the fence to make their first move onto the property ladder sooner rather than later, according to David Livesey, group chief executive. But he pointed out that with the current level of available stock at historic lows, the additional demand from these new buyers combined with increased buy to let activity from investors looking to extend their portfolios before the higher stamp duty changes came into effect on 01 April, many of these first time buyers faced restricted choice and additional competition as they sought to find their ideal property. However he explained that the ratio of applicants to new instructions has evened out in the short term, while property price growth has not been as rapid as it has been in previous quarters, making climbing up or onto the housing ladder a less daunting feat for many. ‘This slight cooling has by no means turned into a chill, with property remaining a valuable asset that will continue to increase in value for the foreseeable future. Supply side initiatives, driven by the Government’s attempts to stimulate housebuilding in particular, may need further support if they are to have any meaningful impact on the level of available stock in the short term,’ said Livesey. The report shows that landlords and tenants have also enjoyed a positive and productive start to the year. It says that activity from renters has grown at a healthy pace, as this group often uses the start of the New Year as an opportunity to move into new accommodation. Despite the fresh demand from new applicants entering the lettings market in the first quarter of the year, the ratio of registered applicants to new instructions is by no means as high as it was during the first quarter of 2015 and average agreed rents have broadly stabilised across England, in the short term at least, the report points out. Livesey said that an increased supply of rental stock is easing pressure on the sector, as buy to let landlords purchase less expensive properties, some of these new build. ‘This may not be what the Government had in mind when it aided the construction of such properties, but it has given tenants respite nonetheless. In addition, tenants are also driving harder bargains, securing longer leases at a cheaper monthly rate meaning they need to return to the market less often, which is also attractive to landlords,’ he explained. ‘The mortgage market has also sprung back to life this quarter, largely propelled by high activity levels in the residential and… Taylor Scott International

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