Estate agents saw average house prices in December rise to 216,055, revealing an unusually buoyant market during the festive period, says the National Association of Estate Agents.
The number of buyers on estate agents books increased to 351 during December 2006.
This 16% increase was unusual for the time of year, as estate agents would expect a decrease in the number of aspiring buyers during the festive period.
First-time buyers once again improved their market share in December compared to December 2005.
This improvement from levels reported in 2005 is a continuing trend that has been reported by the survey for the last eight consecutive months.
Housing stock was depleted further in December, down by 7.3% from figures reported in November.
Traditionally very few people look to sell property during the festive period as they concentrate on family commitments.
However, with an increase in those registering an interest to buy, the market could become increasingly competitive, and as a consequence, prices may continue to rise.
Charles Smailes, president of the NAEA, says: The results of the December housing market survey are mostly encouraging, as the levels of activities reported are predictable for the time of year, as similar figures are reported year in year out.
It is pleasing to see the number of people registered to buy increasing – this leads me to believe that confidence in the market is on the up and bodes well for 2007.
I continue to be concerned about first-time buyers, without whom the market is unlikely to remain buoyant.
“The further rate rise seen in January and the threat of more rises to come will seriously stagnate this sector of the market, as mortgage repayments rise to unaffordable levels.