The survey shows that valuations were 4% lower in August than in July, but this compares to a historic average seasonal decline of 9% between the two months.
Remortgaging was the only category where activity grew month-on-month, increasing by 11% compared to July and by a staggering 108% compared to August 2010.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director at Connells Survey and Valuation, says: “We’ve had our strongest August since 2007 – and the expected August dip hasn’t really materialised. With the summer holidays now coming to a close, we expect activity to pick up pace as September progresses.”
He says the rise in remortgage activity is down to lenders offering more competitive rates.
Bagshaw says: “Interest rate hikes are no longer on the horizon this year, but rock bottom fixed rates have proved too tempting for an increasing number of homeowners.
“Falling swap rates have allowed banks and building societies to cut their mortgage rates in attempt to grow market share. As long as this competition continues to drive down mortgage rates, remortgage activity will continue its recovery apace.”
The survey also reveals that there were 85% more buy-to-let valuations carried out in August than in the same month last year, while the number of valuations for home movers was up 42% year-on-year and down 9% on a monthly basis.
First-time buyer valuations saw a drop of 5% compared to July and an increase of 21% compared to August 2010.
Bagshaw adds: “House prices are still 13% below their 2007 peak, and with the improving affordability of mortgages, many frustrated first-time buyers are looking once again at house purchase.
“Although deposit requirements remain prohibitive in many cases, there is a greater variety of products available for new buyers. Homemovers too are cashing in on cheap rates with many looking to move and upsize their property while mortgage payments are at historic lows for those with substantial equity.”