At this time of year, activity in the mortgage market typically enjoys a seasonal lull, yet latest figures from Connells Survey & Valuation show that this year's slowdown isn't as significant as it usually is, with remortgaging activity thought to be the reason.
The figures show that remortgaging valuations activity surged in April, at least on an annual basis, as despite activity falling on a monthly basis (valuations fell by 25% from March), remortgaging valuations rose by 50% year-on-year.
Happily, first-time buyer activity was close behind with a 46% annual rise (and a similar 15% drop compared with March), while homemover valuations rose by 14% compared with April 2015, despite falling by 20% on an annual basis.
Such significant annual rises helped secure an overall increase in total valuations activity (up by 24% year-on-year), and counteracts the 22% downturn that occurred between March and April, with remortgaging activity in particular thought to have steered the property market through its seasonal slowdown.
All sectors saw a decline in activity on a monthly basis, something that is a typical feature of the time of year, but this year's decline was far smaller than in recent years – in April 2015, for example, overall valuation activity declined by 32% on a monthly basis, so this year's figure is relatively robust in comparison.
Indeed, the only sector to see a decline on both a monthly and annual basis is the buy-to-let (BTL) sector, which saw activity fall by 41% on both measures, arguably the result of the stamp duty surcharge (which was implemented in April), which would have caused demand for rental properties to fall dramatically.
"April's property market is experiencing some vibrant long-term growth, regardless of any short-term indicators," said John Bagshaw of Connells, with this being "a sign that the property market is becoming robust enough to endure cyclical market forces". He added that the longer-term picture was even more positive: "As house prices continue to rise and interest rates remain at record lows, ever more people will be drawn to the property ladder."
So, are you thinking of getting in on the action? Whether you're a first-time buyer, want to take the next step up the ladder or simply want to remortgage, make sure you find the right deal to suit – check out our mortgage best buys to get started.
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