Number of prospective buyers up 40% in January

Jake Carter

February 24, 2021

The number of prospective buyers increased by 40% in January, according to NAEA Propertymark.

In the first month of the year, the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch stood at 487, up from 348 in December.

On an annual basis, this is a 27% rise from 382 in January 2020.

Looking to the time taken from offer to exchange, a record 26% of transactions took over 17 weeks from the offer being accepted to exchanging contracts.

The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 10 in January, an increase from eight in December.

According to the data, this is the highest figure recorded in January since 2007, when an average of 13 sales were agreed per branch.

The number of sales made to first-time buyers remained the same at 23% in January.

Year-on-year, this figure represents a decrease of six percentage points from 29% in January 2020.

Furthermore, the number of properties available per member branch stood at 38 in January, rising from 33 in December.

In January, 9% of properties sold for more than the original asking price.

This is a rise from December when only 5% of properties sold for more than asking price.

The majority (62%) of properties sold for less than the original asking price.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser, Propertymark said: “The number of house hunters hitting the market in January shows the stamp duty cut has continued to encourage buyers.

“However, with an average of 13 house hunters for every property on the market, there is simply not the supply to meet this level of demand.

“Separately, a record number of transactions are taking nearly four months to complete, however news today reveals the Chancellor is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday until June.

“We have continually lobbied government to rethink these timings and it is good news for the sector given how many sales would have fallen at the final hurdle as we approached the 31 March cliff edge.

“However, extending the holiday until June will create another cliff edge.

“We know from our own research that the majority of estate agents expect to see an increase in the number of failed sales if the stamp duty holiday ends at a cliff edge so we need government to consider a tapered end to the holiday so that buyers aren’t forced to pull out at the last minute and the property market can continue to thrive.”

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