The number of people looking for a home increased by 37% during the month of January, according to NAEA Propertymark.

The number of property seekers registered per estate agent branch increased in the first month of the year, however, these were largely ‘second steppers’.  

The supply of properties also increased at the start of the year, though these properties have largely been those looking for a second home, not first-time buyers.   

NAEA Propertymark’s Chief Executive, Mark Hayward, said: “As we usually see in January, buyers and sellers have re-entered the market after the festive slow-down and triggered an uplift in the number of sales agreed”.  

Hayward continued: “Our members have noticed first-time buyers holding off on making purchases…and saving for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief.” 

Changes to stamp duty for first-time buyers took effect following last November’s Autumn Budget, where it was announced that those buying their first property would be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties worth up to £300,000. The usual rate of stamp duty would then apply on the purchase of properties worth between £300,000 and £500,000. This means that most first-time buyers securing a home in London will pay some stamp duty.  

Interestingly, the number of property sales to first-time buyers increased in 2017 but fell by 5% between December 2017 and January 2018.   

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