The latest housing market activity report from Connells Survey and Valuation shows that the number of valuations in December fell by 14% compared to November, less than the average drop of 20% that has been seen between the two months from 2007 to 2010.
In the three months to December, there was a 3% rise in the number of valuations compared to the previous quarter, and a 71% increase compared to the same period in 2010.
During 2011 as a whole, there were 43% more valuations than in 2010.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director at Connells Survey and Valuation, says: “The seasonal Christmas slowdown may have set in during December, but the monthly dip was much smaller than in recent years.
“Better than expected lending figures as banks and building societies hurried to meet full-year targets helped drive the annual increase in valuation activity in the run up to the new year – a welcome contrast to the situation last December, which saw a dismally low level of lending.”
The report also reveals promising first-time buyer activity, with valuations for this group up 9% on a quarterly basis in Q4 2011 and up 56% on an annual basis.
Meanwhile, remortgage valuations doubled between 2010 and 2011.
Bagshaw says that first-time buyers are starting to act with a greater degree of urgency to move before the end of the Stamp Duty holiday in March, which should help to bolster spring activity.