Second half surge for Connells

Over 2009, the number of valuations conducted each month has increased steadily compared to 2008 figures. For five consecutive months from August to December, the number of valuations conducted significantly exceeded the number for the same month of 2008. As a result, there were almost 20% more valuations in the second half of 2009 than in the same period of 2008.

December was the stand-out performer, with a 52% more valuations than the same month of 2008, reflecting a growth in confidence in the housing market - a stark contrast compared to the end of 2008.

This trend follows a trough in valuation activity in the first half of the year, compared to 2008. In January alone, valuation numbers were down nearly 60% on January 2008.

Ross Bowen, managing director of Connells Survey & Valuation, commented: "The summer of 2009 was a marked turning point for the housing market, as demand for valuations increased beyond last year's levels. Despite the difficult mortgaging conditions, the valuations market demonstrated its resilience - ending 2009 on a much firmer footing than 2008.

"But while the news is more encouragng, 2010 will undoubtedly present many challenges. Doubts still persist over issues such as the timing and impact of the general election, the effect of removing the £175k stamp duty exemption, and trends in the wider economy. We did clearly see a more positive trend in the second half of last year as house prices started to rise and confidence strengthened in the market. We expect to see the market continue to improve in 2010, with further modest growth in the number of housing transactions and surveys conducted."