First time buyers are driving the UK housing market.

Summer is a seasonally quiet time for buyers and sellers, but activity is up year-on-year this July, according to Connells Survey & Valuation. 

The  chartered surveyors completed 14 per cent more valuations in July 2014 compared to July 2013, as house hunters push forward with the buying process. This annual growth has been recorded in spite of a 21 per cent slowdown compared to June 2014 - a seasonal slip that has seen activity by an average of 22 per cent between June and July since 2007. 

The rise is fuelled by first time buyer activity, with the drop off in activity just 17 per cent among fresh-faced property buyers, who are feeling both confident in the country's economy and encouraged by lending schemes - even with the introduction of MMR regulations.

John Bagshaw, Corporate Services Director of Connells Survey & Valuation, comments: "A motoring economy is bringing with it renewed consumer confidence.  Emphasis on first time buyers from lenders – partly due to government schemes – appears to be getting people on to the property ladder.

"We’re not on an open road to prosperity yet.  After the summer slowdown, there will be more clarification on the long-term impact of various potential speed bumps. The limiter could be interest rate rises – or the fundamental squeeze on affordability for many would-be buyers. But with consistent double-digit annual growth in activity, there is now a growing sense that the housing market is running more smoothly."

Despite this positive sentiment and evident demand, though, existing homeowners selling to move appear to be less eager.

Indeed, home mover valuations number 12 per cent more than in July last year, or around half the annual growth in activity among new buyers. On a monthly basis, the number of home mover valuations dipped by 19 per cent between June and July.

John Bagshaw continues, “Further up the chain, the market is more muted.  Plenty of householders are content to sit on an appreciating asset, often sticking with a mortgage they know. Jumping in the deep end just before interest rates change direction feels like a leap of faith.

"Despite this, some home owners, taking advantage of strong property prices, have used their added value to up-size."

Photo credit: Boyce Duprey

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