Property market bounced back in May

Property valuations activity has returned to growth, up 3% on a monthly basis as of May after a 15% month-on-month fall previously in April.

John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, said: “The most severe effects of the MMR have been proved as temporary, while the benefits will last much longer.

“Disruption over the transition period between old and new regimes was expected, and temporary problems seen by some lenders have now been almost entirely resolved. We expect solid, steady growth in the market over the rest of 2014.

“The new rules introduced in April ensure that progress via mortgage lending is sustainable. And that progress continues. Today the property industry is proving it remains on an optimistic trajectory – led by first time buyers.”

The total number of valuations for first time buyers is now up 9% compared to April, growing on a monthly basis considerably faster than any other section of the market. This leaves new buyer valuations activity at levels 8% ahead of May 2013.

The total number of valuations carried out in May for home movers who already own their home is down marginally by 1% since April. This also leaves home mover valuations activity down by 1% compared to May 2013.

Bagshaw added: “Property remains in short supply. And though prices are rising, many established owners are content to stay in their current home. Most households still feel firmly in recovery mode, gradually rebuilding lost financial security.

“But true optimism is set to return. Personal finances should start to feel the effects of a wider economic recovery this year, which should breathe a gradual wave of life into each step of the property ladder.”

Buy-to-let activity has also fallen by 1% on a monthly basis, though this leaves the total number of buy-to-let valuations at levels 11% higher than in May 2013, due to strong growth in the buy-to-let sector previously in the last twelve months.

Remortgaging has recovered from a sharp dip in April, with activity in May up 4% on the previous month. This has boosted annual growth in the number of remortgaging valuations to 5%, in line with the housing market as a whole.

Bagshaw said: “Some have suggested the post-MMR world would see a buy-to-let boom, since such lending is not subject to the same strict rules as mortgages for owner occupiers. But so far this hasn’t materialised. Buy-to-let activity is certainly going strong. The strong year on year figure is a hangover from the growth of previous months.

“On the other hand, remortgaging remains an important part of the arsenal for those fighting against the cost of living. Households are generally savvy about interest rates, and want a good deal that will last.”