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FTB numbers jump by a fifth in January, says Connells

There was a jump in the number of first-time buyers in January, compared to the same month last year, according to research from Connells Survey & Valuation.

In the first month of 2017, first-time buyer valuations rose by a fifth year-on-year (21 per cent).

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The number of valuations carried out on behalf of people selling property rose 10 per cent in January 2017, compared to the same month last year.

But, while valuations for first-time buyers and those selling homes increased, the report finds that landlord investment has declined by 63 per cent year-on-year.

This is partially due to a surge in buy-to-let purchases in January 2016 as landlords brought forward purchases to avoid the stamp duty surcharge – but landlord investment is still well down on January 2015.

Connells Survey & Valuation corporate services director John Bagshaw says: “With UK employment close to its eleven year high and weekly earnings rising by 3 per cent, many first-time buyers are fitter financially than they were a year ago.

“Aided by cheap mortgages rates, aspiring home-owners have seized the opportunity to get their first foot on the ladder. The demand for homes has been particularly high in January, with the Connells Group estate agency network for instance seeing nearly 12 applicants per each new instruction that comes onto the market.”

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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