January market frozen by bad weather
This is according to the latest Agency Express Property Activity Index, which showed that, overall, the number of houses sold in January was 18.0% less than those sold in December and 9.8% down on January 2009. Compared to 2007 and 2008 the picture looks gloomy with house sales being down 54.2% and 52.9% respectively.
In previous years, January has seen a significant uplift in the amount of houses sold compared to the traditionally quiet December. But the combination of the ending of the Stamp Duty holiday at the end of December and the bad weather experienced at the start of January means that it has been the worst January for house sales for four years.
Commenting on the latest Index results, Stephen Watson, managing director, Agency Express, said: “Without doubt, the bad weather experienced up and down the country in the first couple of weeks of the year put a lot of people’s plans on hold. We also saw more activity in December than normal as house buyers rushed to complete to avoid Stamp Duty. It’s been a disappointing start to the year for house sales but the underlying trend is one of recovery. We fully expect February to be a bumper month as the activity that was postponed from January comes through and the news that the UK has exited recession should provide another confidence boost to the market.”
There is certainly evidence that we can expect things in the housing market to start moving this Spring as the number of houses that were put up ‘For Sale’ in January was up 38.2% on December.